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reporton BLACKLISTING 



II Radio -Television 



JOHN COGLEY 



THE FUND FOR THE REPUBLIC, INC. 



report on BLACKLISTING 



II Radio - Television 



JOHN COGLEY 



THE FUND FOR THE REPUBLIC, INC. 



Copyright 1956 by The Fund for the Republic, Inc. 



CONTENTS 

Acknowledgment v 

Foreword vii 

Counterattack and Red Channels 1 

The First Cases 22 

Blacklisting: An Institution 49 

Newsmen and Commentators 7 1 

"Clearance" 89 

The Syracuse Crusade 1 00 

"Take Their Word" 110 

Security on Madison Avenue 115 

"Clearance" at CBS 122 

Aware, Inc. 129 

The Theatrical Unions 1 43 

Some Interviews 163 

Blacklisting Experiences 173 

Industry Viewpoints 192 

Blacklisting and Broadway 210 

Appendix 218 



Anti-Communism and Employment Policies 

in Radio and Television 221 

by MARIE JAHODA 

Research Center for Human Relations 
New York University 

Index 282 

iii 



Acknowledgment 

o 



THIS REPORT is based on the findings of a staff of researchers and 
reporters Edward Engberg, Harriet Davis, Gwendolyn Boulkind, 
Saul Blackman, Margaret Bushong and William Pfaff. 

The study conducted by Dr. Marie Jahoda of the Research Cen- 
ter for Human Relations, New York University, was wholly 
independent. 

I am indebted to the Fund for the Republic, which sponsored 
the study, and to all who supplied the material on which the report 
is based. This latter group includes not only the research staff but 
some two hundred persons in the radio-television industry who gave 
freely of their time for lengthy interviews. Special thanks are due 
to my assistant Michael Harrington, who gave invaluable help in 
organizing the mass of material collected, and to James Greene, 
the project secretary. 

The conclusions found in these pages are mine alone. They do 
not necessarily reflect the judgments of any other person. 

JOHN COGLEY 



Foreword 



MOST AMERICANS ARE CONVINCED that loyalty-security investiga- 
tions of people working for the government in sensitive positions 
or seeking key federal jobs are necessary to protect the government 
from the infiltration of persons who might try to destroy it. But 
when loyalty tests are applied by private groups to people in private 
industries and people are barred from jobs because they are 
"controversial" many citizens become alarmed. 

The present report (with its companion volume dealing with the 
motion picture industry) embodies the results of a study initiated 
by The Fund for the Republic in September, 1954, when many 
Americans had become disturbed by the revelation of blacklisting 
practices in the radio, television, and motion picture industries. 

At the time this study was launched, such blacklisting was a 
subject of vigorous public controversy, involving civil liberties 
issues of a serious kind. It raised questions of freedom of thought 
and speech, of due process, of the protection of the individual 
against group pressures and of the community against the disloyalty 
of the individual. It was a controversy in which all participants 
commonly spoke in the name of the Constitution and civil liberty, 
but in violently conflicting terms. 

Those who advocated blacklisting practices did so on the ground 
that Communist and pro-Communist infiltration into the entertain- 
ment industries represented a serious peril to the American system 
of law and governance, and therefore to the freedoms which it 
enshrines. The peril might be direct, through giving Communists 

vii 



access to mass media into which they could introduce subversive 
propaganda, or which they might even sabotage given the proper 
circumstances. It might be only indirect, permitting Communist 
sympathizers to enjoy popular esteem, earning incomes which 
would help support Communist causes, operating their own black- 
lists against anti-Communists and promoting the interests of an 
international conspiracy directed toward the destruction of all 
liberties. In any case, it was contended, the extirpation from the 
entertainment industries of proven members of the Communist 
conspiracy and of all who were considered to have lent it their 
support or had been indifferent to its dangers (and remained im- 
penitent) was essential as a protection to American institutions. 

Opponents of blacklisting contended that such a policy could 
only subvert the rights and liberties it sought to protect. Some held 
that it violated the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech 
and thought, since it destroyed an individual's livelihood on the 
sole ground of his political beliefs. This raised the issue whether 
a sympathy with Communism could properly be regarded as a 
"political belief" or must be taken as proof of complicity in a 
criminal conspiracy, even though no criminal charge could be 
brought. Beyond that, many who accepted the view that a con- 
vinced Communist should be barred from the cameras and micro- 
phones were disturbed by the methods being used to achieve this 
result. It was contended that blacklisting resulted in the ruin of 
many entirely loyal individuals without formal charges, hearings or 
other safeguards of due process, often on flimsy or mistaken charges 
and at the dictates of self-appointed censors or pressure groups. 

Several things were apparent in this controversy. The major 
arguments simply did not meet. The facts around which the argu- 
ments raged were largely unknown. In these issues, plainly of 
critical importance to all those interested in the preservation of 
civil liberty, the information necessary to arriving at valid conclu- 
sions was largely unavailable. It was not even clear whether a 



vm 



blacklisting system actually existed in the motion picture, radio and 
TV industries. If it existed, it was not known on what principles 
it worked, who controlled it, how accurate were the criteria it 
applied in screening Communists and pro-Communists out of the 
industries, what were the motives which might have contributed to 
its growth. Beyond the somewhat rough-and-ready disclosures of 
the various investigating committees, there was little useful data on 
the nature and extent of Communist influence in the industries; 
on the effect, if any, which it had exerted on the output; on the 
extent to which the Communists themselves had engaged in black- 
listing practices, or on numerous other facts essential to formu- 
lating any answers for the issues of civil liberties here involved. 
The subject was being debated, in short, in a vacuum. 

The Fund for the Republic was established as an educational 
undertaking in the field of civil liberties in the United States. It 
seemed to its Directors that here were problems of immediate con- 
cern and that the Fund could render a useful service toward their 
solution by ascertaining the facts involved. It asked John Cogley, 
then Executive Editor of The Commonweal, to study and report 
upon the situation as a whole. This he has done. Mr. Cogley and 
his associates have interviewed so far as they found it possible 
to do so every important interest concerned. These include ex- 
ecutives of the motion picture industry and the radio and TV 
chains, the advertising agencies, leading advertisers, the theatrical 
unions, leaders of anti-Communist organizations and others promi- 
nent in "listing" or "clearing" individuals, and many producers, 
directors, actors, writers, reporters, news commentators and agency 
men. 

From the first it was recognized that this was a highly complex 
question, and Mr. Cogley and his associates have been scrupulous 
in trying to present all significant points of view. He was given a 
free hand in the organization of the study and presentation of the 
facts. While he accepts responsibility for this report as its director 

ix 



and author, the Board of The Fund for the Republic wishes to 
state its full confidence in the calm deliberation which he has given 
to its preparation. We believe he has done a thorough job in a 
very difficult field. 

It was recognized that many in the industries are aware of the 
difficulties raised by blacklisting and have been wrestling earnestly 
with them. Mr. Cogley has tried to give a detailed picture of a 
situation as it exists. He has brought in no indictments, and has 
offered no recommendations. The Board of the Fund for the 
Republic offers none, believing that progress in resolving the con- 
flicts of interest, viewpoint, and principle involved must and will 
come hi the first instance from the industries affected. But even 
this progress must ultimately turn upon public knowledge and 
understanding of the actual situation and its problems. This report 
seeks only to supply the data on which such knowledge and under- 
standing may be established. 

FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, 
THE FUND FOR THE REPUBLIC: 
By Paul G. Hoffman, Chairman 



v_ 



Counterattack 
and Red Channels 



COUNTERATTACK is a weekly, four-page newsletter published by 
the American Business Consultants in New York. It was founded 
in 1 947 as Counterattack, the Newsletter of Facts on Communism. 

Subscribers to Counterattack ($24 yearly) are entitled to the 
Special Reports which the newsletter publishes irregularly. The 
most famous of these reports was made available to the public at 
one dollar a copy and bore the name Red Channels, The Report of 
Communist Influence in Radio and Television. 

Red Channels provided a list of 151 persons in the radio-tele- 
vision industry who, the editors claimed, were linked, either hi the 
past or present, with a variety of "Communist causes." The "links" 
were cited in each case. They included organizations identified as 
subversive by the Attorney General, the House Committee on Un- 
American Activities, the California Un-American Activities Com- 
mittee and other official and private sources. Among the private 
sources were the authors of Red Channels themselves. 

At the beginning of the volume there is a disclaimer pointing 
out that the listed activities or associations may well have been 
innocent of subversive intent; Red Channels is only reporting them. 
This statement made it virtually impossible for the listed people to 
obtain legal satisfaction for damages suffered as a result of the 
listing. The accuracy of some Red Channels sources has been suc- 
cessfully challenged, many of those named in its pages have since 

1 



been "cleared," and the volume itself has been superseded by a 
number of newer listings. But its publication in June, 1950, 
marked the formal beginning of blacklisting in the radio-tv industry. 

The booklet soon became known as "the Bible of Madison 
Avenue" (center of the radio-tv industry in New York). It was 
consulted by network executives, advertising agencies, radio-tv 
packagers and sponsors. Its underlying thesis that Communists 
were "infiltrating" the radio-tv field and should be removed 
became something of a doctrine in the industry. 

The editors of Counterattack never held that everyone listed in 
Red Channels was actually an "infiltrator," nor did they claim that 
everyone listed in the publication was a Communist. But they did 
believe that those whose names appeared on the list had some ex- 
plaining to do and should be called on to prove their anti-commu- 
nism by word and deed or be kept out of the industry. The industry, 
by and large, accepted the proposition. Counterattack's standards 
of what constituted "infiltration," "communistic associations," and 
grounds for suspicion were almost universally adopted up and 
down Madison Avenue. There have been numberless disagree- 
ments within the industry as to whether this or that individual 
actually was "infiltrating," had been associated in any meaningful 
sense with the Communist conspiracy, or was indeed reasonably 
suspect. But Red Channels was remarkably successful in getting 
the industry to accept Counterattack's standards. 

Most significant, the acceptance of Red Channels meant that the 
radio-tv industry officially adopted the political point-of-view 
espoused by Counterattack. Very few in the industry seemed to give 
their sincere support to Counterattack's political evaluations, yet 
almost the entire industry, as far as employment practices went, 
acted on them. The standards of employability were Counterat- 
tack's; the measure of patriotism was Counterattack's; "pro-Com- 
munist" and "anti-Communist" opinions, acts and associations, in 
the last analysis, were judged as Counterattack judges them. 

2 



Since the American Business Consultants is a private organiza- 
tion, Counterattack's opinions represent no more than the opinions 
of its editors. In the past (according to the newsletter itself), the 
editors have been consulted by Congressional committees because 
of their special knowledge of communism. But they have often 
been highly critical of the Government's anti-Communist efforts. 
The original prospectus announcing Counterattack stated flatly 
that ". . . the efforts of our government to combat Communist 
activities have failed to eliminate the effectiveness of this 5th 
column ..." Counterattack, therefore, was designed "to obtain, 
file and index factual information on Communists, Communist 
fronts and other subversive organizations."* 

Counterattack, however, has not confined its attacks to sub- 
versive organizations. A goodly portion of its energies has gone into 
combatting those ideas, activities and groups which the editors feel 
"help" the Communists. "Helping the Communists" is rarely in- 
tentional; it is often rooted in political naivete. But on this basis 

* The three founding editors had some experience in this field. They were 
ex-FBI men who had collaborated first as researchers for an anti-Communist pub- 
lication called Plain Talk (financed by millionaire Alfred Kohlberg and edited 
by Isaac Don Levine), then as directors of a Washington, D. C. corporation 
known as John Quincy Adams Associates. As John Quincy Adams Associates the 
three ex-FBI men Ken Bierly, now with Columbia pictures; Ted Kirkpatrick, 
now with an Illinois business corporation; and John Keenan, still publisher of 
Counterattack collected and distributed information about communism upon 
request. Their work was done mainly for clergymen, union leaders and persons 
frequently approached by charitable and civic organizations who were anxious not 
to support a hidden Communist cause. 

John Quincy Adams Associates dissolved after a year when the organization 
failed to win a permanent not-for-profit rating. The three partners, then, with the 
financial support of some well-to-do anti-Communists, set up the American Busi- 
ness Consultants in New York, in April, 1947. The new company had the dual 
purpose of publishing a newsletter and promoting "scientific research technical 
investigations." In addition to publishing Counterattack, the American Business 
Consultants went on making special reports, like the John Quincy Adams Asso- 
ciates, but with the difference that ABC charged fees (from $5 to five-figure sums) 
while JQAA merely accepted voluntary contributions. Some work was done gratis 
"We're like a doctor," one of the Consultants once told a magazine writer. 
"Doctors always have some charity patients." 



Counterattack at one time or another has lashed out against prac- 
tically every major newspaper in the City of New York and casti- 
gated departments of the executive branch of the Government, both 
Houses of the legislative branch, and a whole anagram set of private 
organizations - NBC, CBS, the YWCA, the ACLU, among others. 

During recent years book reviewers have lauded the literary style 
of writers considered "subversive" by Counterattack; national 
magazines have publicized dubious entertainers; newspapers have 
announced the meetings of suspect organizations these and 
countless other incidents are occasions of "helping the Commu- 
nists." Counterattack often seems to measure every movement and 
event in American life by the simple standards of its "help" 
criterion. 

Evil acts of course only became more malicious when the crite- 
rion is applied thus racial discrimination or union racketeering is 
worthy of censure not only by the tenets of ordinary morality but 
also because they "help" Communist propagandists. But when the 
measure is applied to acts good or indifferent in themselves, 
Counterattack sometimes seems compelled to condemn activities 
that many Americans feel are the normal manifestations of free 
political debate. A petition to gain clemency for the Rosenbergs 
or have the Supreme Court decide on the Constitutional issues in 
the Hollywood Ten Case, a protest against real (or, as Counter- 
attack usually says, "imagined") instances of censorship, a steady 
concern for civil liberties, a study of blacklisting or of government 
security measures, a protest against atomic warfare, against the 
methods of a Senator McCarthy these and a much wider cate- 
gory of activities are worthy of solemn condemnation if in some 
way they "help the Communists." In a 1955 issue of the newsletter, 
for instance, readers were urged to write to President Eisenhower 
and ask him for a "public and personal statement on the reports be- 
ing circulated that he thoroughly enjoyed The Investigator'* now 

* "The Investigator" is a phonograph record lampooning Senator McCarthy. 

4 



that its Communist authorship and Party-line inspiration is evident." 
The President was thus asked to consider whether, when he thought 
it over, he really enjoyed something which, if he enjoyed at all, 
he enjoyed months before. 

"Proof is available for every statement made in Counterattack" 
the newsletter declared in an early issue. This claim is not as im- 
pressive as it sounds since Counterattack's most startling "expo- 
sures" have been reports of reports. It is as if one took journalistic 
pride in the accuracy with which he copied even wrong numbers 
from a telephone book. If, for instance, Actor T has been cited as 
belonging to Organization P, which has been cited by the Cali- 
fornia Tenney Committee as subversive, Counterattack does not 
take a great chance when it states the fact. It sometimes happens 
that Actor T actually did not belong to Organization P, or it some- 
times happens that Organization P was not actually subversive in 
any meaningful sense despite the Tenney Committee but Count- 
erattack has fulfilled its obligation, it feels, when it reports what 
the Tenney Committee had to say about Organization P and 
Actor T. 

Of course, the newsletter's readers, not without reason, often 
conclude, (a) that Actor T did belong to Organization P, (b) that 
the organization was indeed subversive and (c) that Actor T is 
likewise subversive and, so concluding, are misled on one or all 
three counts. But the burden for undoing the mischief caused by 
Counterattack's report then falls on Actor T. It is his obligation to 
prove that he did not belong to the organization, or that the organi- 
tion was not subversive, or in any case that he was not consciously 
involved in any of its subversion. Perhaps he can succeed in con- 
vincing not only Counterattack's readers but his employers as well 
that he is a patriot and always has been. But, withal, Counterattack 
remains a model of journalistic accuracy the newsletter has 
"proof" for every statement made in its pages! 

5 



After nine months of crying out against Communist "infiltra- 
tion," Counterattack, on January 16, 1948, attempted to identify 
and enumerate the personnel in the threat. This is what it had to 
say: 

What is meant by a Communist? Sometimes Counterattack reports 
that such and such a person is "a Communist Party member" and 
that another is "a Communist." Is this difference in terminology 
intentional? Yes. 

All Communist Party members are Communists . . . but not ALL 
Communists are Communist Party members. The Communist Party 
itself has said that one who supports the Party and cooperates with it 
is a Communist, even if he isn't a member. It is in this sense that 
Counterattack uses the term. 

What does a Communist believe in? Whatever the Party believes in. 
The word "communism" with a small "c", or Communism with a big 
"C" has meant different things at different times for centuries. We 
could use a thousand pages to examine these differences. But the only 
sensible definition of "Communism" today is this: 

Communism means the practices & REAL doctrines of Stalin Russia. 
Not the doctrines that Stalin sometimes pretends to believe in, but those 
that he really works at. 

And a Communist is anyone who supports the Communist Party on 
every important question. Some Communist non-members occasionally 
dissent on slight details. That doesn't matter. They're still Com- 
munists . . . 

As for actual Party membership, Counterattack estimated in its 
second issue that there were 80,000 dues-paying Communists hi 
the American Party. However, less than two months later, "Count- 
erattack investigators" produced an "inside report" that member- 
ship was up to 84,000. And, the report continued, "Organizational 
Secretary Henry Winston privately expects 90,000 by end of year. 
This means 90,000 enlisted dues-paying members ... the 'tank 
corps' of a much bigger army of non-member Communists." 

The story of Counterattack's concern with those it considers 
"fronters" stretches over the entire span of the newsletter's history. 



Even by the time Red Channels appeared (in five instances persons 
were listed there for only one affiliation), the editors could not, 
or did not attempt to, distinguish between "dupes" and ideologues, 
a fact widely criticized at the time. 

But some decision must be made as to what organizations are 
truly "fronts." The newsletter itself recognized the difficulty. In 
June, 1947 Counterattack asked: "Which organizations are really 
fronts and which aren't? How can a jury be expected to distinguish? 
And if a jury does decide that a certain organization is a front, how 
can it tell whether the defendant helped it as a Communist or as an 
'innocent'? Some eminent persons, including Supreme Court 
justices and conservative multi-millionaires, have innocently spon- 
sored Communist fronts." 

Nevertheless, on December 19, 1947, after the Attorney Gen- 
eral's list had been made public, Counterattack named 34 fronts 
not included by the AG which "ought to have been." A few months 
later it gave its readers a list of 192 "fronts," 119 of which, it 
pointed out, did not appear on the Attorney General's list. 

The issue was basic, and one must look to the general obscurity 
of the newsletter in these early days in order to understand why it 
was not thrashed out then and there. 

The issue was whether the American public would accept a 
private group, however knowledgeable, fair, careful or scrupulous 
it might be, which compiled its own list of subversive organizations 
and then put the considerable public pressure at its disposal to 
force anyone associated with the organization at any time to 
"explain" his association or suffer the consequences. For the most 
part, it was not a question of legality but of political prudence. 

Another problem came up in deciding who had lent their names 
to "fronts" of -whatever citation. The Communists, it is clear, were 
not always scrupulous about the use of names. And in its issue for 
July 16, 1954, Counterattack noted their duplicity. Under a head- 

7 



ing "Red Front Uses Phony Sponsor List," Counterattack men- 
tioned a letter being circulated by the Spanish Refugee Appeal of 
the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee: 

. . . On the letterhead, as national sponsors, were 100 prominent 
names. The obvious ones stood out: Howard Fast, Dalton Trumbo and 
Alvah Bessie of Hollywood's "unfriendly nine" and Paul Robeson. 
Then there were some shockers names whose appearance on a front's 
letterhead in this day and age were unbelievable. They were: Pierre 
Monteux, the distinguished conductor; Yehudi Menuhin, the violinist; 
Hazel Scott and her husband, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; the 
composer, Leonard Bernstein; and Bartley C. Crum. Counterattack 
wrote to each of them, as well as to others whose names seemed out 
of place on a Communist appeal because of their actions of recent 
years. From these persons named, and from several others, prompt 
replies were received. In each case the person either denied ever having 
given authority for the use of their name and said they would demand 
withdrawal or produced good evidence that they had demanded that 
the Appeal drop their names as far back as 1948. (It is only fair, the 
editors feel, to omit the names of persons who did not reply or whose 
address was unknown.) 

But Counterattack was not ready to discount the Communists' 
own lists entirely. "Anyone of responsibility," it declared in con- 
nection with the "phony" sponsor list, "whose name still might be 
improperly attached to such a pro-Communist group has a definite 
responsibility of seeing that his name is removed." 

A similar case had come up in the pages of Counterattack in 
January, 1954. The editors took out after singer Harry Belafonte, 
described as a "Communist fronter," and listed, among four trans- 
gressions: "Belafonte entertained for the Distributive Workers 
Union in 1950." The union at that time, according to Counter- 
attack, was a "100% follower of the Party line." Belafonte was also 
cited for entertaining at a "Freedom Rally" with Paul Robeson. 

In its February 4 issue, the newsletter announced that "Bela- 
fonte has since approached Counterattack to clarify his stand." 
Belafonte denied he had entertained for the union but admitted 

8 



other transgressions. What was Counterattack's proof that Bela- 
fonte had "entertained for" this union? As it pointed out in its 
pages, "the union's paper of March 12, 1950, stated that he had 
entertained at one of its affairs the previous Sunday." For some 
reason, Belafonte had not been living up to his responsibility to 
protest this use of his name. 

In the case of the "Freedom Rally" he made a good try. "Bela- 
fonte," the newsletter said about this charge, "says he did not give 
Robeson permission to use his name for, and that he did not appear 
at, the 'Freedom' rally . . . and that he sent a release to various 
New York City newspapers pointing out these facts at the time. 
This is verified by the fact that Belafonte has given Counterattack a 
copy of a newspaper containing mention of his release." On the 
other two counts against Belafonte the newsletter had been right. 
But it offered no apology for its own "misuse" of the singer's name. 
It said : " 'Counterattack has always held that persons associated with 
Communist fronts cannot be 'cleared' by anyone but themselves. 
At the same time Counterattack has always been willing to help 
such persons in their efforts to clarify their positions and take an 
anti-CP stand." The newsletter mentioned that in 1952 Belafonte 
had written a private letter to a producer in Hollywood, stating he 
would exercise "extreme care in his future associations." "As far 
as Counterattack can determine, Belafonte has not supported any 
fronts since that time." 

Apparently, Belafonte's mistake was that he had not been 
"cleared" by the editors of Counterattack. 

When Counterattack first appeared, in 1947, the nation was not 
yet united on the kind of militant anti-communism that marked 
the next few years. American diplomats attended the Moscow Con- 
ference in March, in an attempt to stem the mounting animosity 
between East and West. Yet, in the same month, President 
Truman, in a speech before a joint session of Congress on the need 

9 



for aid to Greece and Turkey, warned that "totalitarian regimes 
imposed on free peoples by direct or indirect aggression undermine 
the foundation of international peace and hence the security of the 
United States." 

One of the warmest public debates that year was whether or 
not to outlaw the American Communist Party, which had been 
esablished in 1919. The American Legion and Daughters of the 
American Revolution heartily supported the measure. They were 
opposed by J. Edgar Hoover, the American Civil Liberties Union 
and other groups. The National Commander of the Catholic War 
Veterans suggested all Communist Party members be deported 
(presumably to Russia). In October, 1947, news of the re-estab- 
lishment of the Cominform in Eastern Europe reached the United 
States and was largely accepted as proof that the Comintern, a 
group dedicated to violent world upheaval and supposedly dis- 
solved by Stalin himself in 1943, had been revived. 

The Communist Party was a murky image in most minds; but 
its very presence in American political life made the problem of 
dealing with communism at home and abroad considerably more 
difficult and complex. 

The inauguration of a newsletter designed to present "facts on 
communism" seemed a step in the right direction. Counterattack, 
however, concerned itself less with communism than with Commu- 
nists and especially those of name or prestige who "helped the 
Communists," a variety of "dupes," "stooges," "innocents" and 
"appeasers." It was evident, too, that the newsletter was to use 
words like "Communist" and "front" in special ways to be found 
neither in the public dictionaries nor the public mind. .Favored 
words in these early issues of the newsletter were those that identi- 
fied the opposing camps "anti-Communists" (i.e., in agreement 
with Counterattack) and "fifth-columnists." These two camps were 
engaged in an ideological (and in some sense, economic) civil 
war a war linked with democracy's world-wide struggle against 

10 



communism. "Action on the labor front," an early issue claimed, 
"must go hand in hand with action against public officials, actors, 
writers and so on who cunningly sell the Moscow line." The news- 
letter early in its history espoused the denaturalization of Commu- 
nists, as the Nazis had been denaturalized, and called for the dis- 
barment of lawyers in the National Lawyers Guild. 

In its 31 issues for 1947 (it missed twice during that first year 
of publication) little space was devoted to the entertainment field 
and the slight interest in show folk continued through 1948. Most 
of Counterattack's attention was given to communism in the trade 
unions. The most important event in the entertainment world, of 
course, was the House Un-American Activities Committee inves- 
tigation of Hollywood. Counterattack heartily endorsed J. Parnell 
Thomas and urged its readers to do likewise. On October 31, it 
explained: "Movie Stars, Writers, Directors Have a Divine Right 
to be Quislings. This is the implicit meaning of terrific propaganda 
drive by Hollywood celebrities and movie producers against 
Thomas Committee ... A cat may look at a king but Congress 
may not take a square look at the doings of Hollywood royalty." It 
went on to cite the Committee for the First Amendment as a 
"front," and advised its readers to write their Congressmen in 
support of the House probe. 

In September, 1947, Counterattack stated its policy: 

Most important thing of all is to base your whole policy on a firmly 
moral foundation. Space should not be rented to the Communist Party 
or to any Communist front. Supplies should not be sold to them. They 
should not be allowed to participate in meetings or to have time on the 
air or to advertise in the press. No concession should ever be made to 
them for any business reason. 

Communist actors, announcers, directors, writers, producers, etc., 
whether in radio, theatre, or movies, should all be barred to the extent 
permissible by law and union contracts. There should be no avoidable 
dealings with any union official who has shown by his acts that he is 
secretly a Communist Party member or fellow-traveler. 

11 



The newsletter admitted that 

Sometimes it won't be easy to follow this rule. But we may as well 
recognize that anything we gain now by personal or business appease- 
ment will eventually plague us, as international appeasement has al- 
ready done. 

In October it swung even harder: 

The way to treat Communists is to ostracize them. How would you 
act towards men who had been convicted of treason? Would you 
befriend them, invite them [sic], listen to them? Or would you treat 
them as outcasts? 

Total ostracism . . . that's the only effective way. It's the only way 
to freeze the Communists out. It's the only DEED that will prove you 
believe what you say about them. And so it's the most convincing 
propaganda. 

The newsletter opposed the employment of "fronters" and 
"Communists" (members and "non-members") because money 
paid to them by American business would find its way to support 
propaganda and espionage activities. Occasionally an instance of 
direct propaganda was detected and "exposed" in the pages of 
Counterattack. From time to time the editors discussed the Party's 
use of "historical parallels," especially in plays and movies, and 
scrutinized the words of writers it considered subversive. 

On August 8, 1947, the following item appeared in the news- 
letter: 

Arthur Miller has disclosed that the Army has acquired the right to 
produce his play "All My Sons" in Germany. So American soldiers 
there and many Germans will see a play . . . based on the theme that 
U. S. manufacturers produced defective airplanes and .other equipment 
during the war, clamly endangering the lives of their own sons . . . 
Miller twisted the facts in a central situation in his play. He wrote a 
scene in which a manufacturer releases some defective airplane cylinders 
to the Army by simply telephoning to his factory and giving instruc- 
tions. But in reality no manufacturer had the power to release military 
equipment. That was up to Army inspectors in the plant, who generally 
were pretty rigorous in their tests. But this point has apparently been 

12 



overlooked by some Army authorities in Germany. Who is responsible 
for choosing . . . Miller's play. Some innocent in the Army? Or some 
Communist? 

A few weeks later, the newsletter reported that "National Com- 
mander Max H. Sorenson of Catholic War Veterans protested to 
War Department which thereupon revoked its plan to produce the 
play in occupied zones. . . ." The editors went on to ask: "Are you 
speaking out publicly against Communist plans after they are ex- 
posed in Counterattack? Max Sorenson's public protest in this case 
brought quick results. It should serve as an example to many 
subscribers."* 

The history of the next seven years showed that it served as a very 
good example. 

Counterattack turned its attention more and more to the enter- 
tainment world. Many of the names later listed in Red Channels 
began to get frequent mention in the newsletter. There were de- 
mands that such people be ostracized by sincere and conscientious 
anti-Communists. When they appeared on radio or television, 
Counterattack supporters were urged to protest. 

Roughly one month before Red Channels came out, the news- 
letter notified its readership that "certain groups in the Association 
of Actors and Artistes of America, Radio and Television Directors 
Guild, and Radio Writers Guild have gotten together to form an 
organization to fight what they claim is a 'blacklist' of radio and 
tv performers who are considered 'liberal or leftist.' " Counter- 
attack noted that the immediate cause of this step was the firing 
of director Betty Todd, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment before 
an investigating body. "What," Counterattack asked, "to do?" . . . 
"You have written to CBS before to criticize the appearance of 



* At $24 a year Counterattack could not expect a mass circulation. It did depend 
though on having influential subscribers capable of alerting and mobilizing a much 
larger group. 

13 



performers with pro-Communist records on its programs. Now 
write to Wm. S. Paley, Chairman of the Board of CBS, at 485 Madi- 
son Avenue, New York City. Congratulate him for the action 
CBS has taken in this case, and tell him to stick to his position in 
spite of any pressure exerted to reverse it. Let him know that you 
back him up completely." 

Shortly afterwards it was June, 1950. 

The period from June 20 to June 30, 1950, was a kind of anti- 
Communists' Ten Days That Shook the World. In the pages of 
the seismographic tabloids in New York, the political rumbles were 
picked up in rapid succession. On Tuesday, June 20, columnist 
Drew Pearson struck out in the Mirror at Representative Wood, 
then Chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee, 
for not following through on Parnell Thomas' investigation of 
Hollywood. On Wednesday, June 21, Ed Sullivan in the Daily 
News predicted: "A bombshell will be dropped into the offices of 
radio-tv networks, advertising agencies and sponsors this week, 
with the publication of Red Channels." On Thursday, Red Chan- 
nels was published. The next day, June 23, the Mirror reported: 

RED INFILTRATION OF TV, RADIO BARED 

Details of Red infiltration in the radio and television broadcast fields, 
together with names of well-known personalities allegedly linked with 
Communist causes are contained in the book "Red Channels," pub- 
lished yesterday. 

The book was compiled by the editors of "Counterattack," a weekly 
anti-Communist newsletter, with the help of former FBI agents, includ- 
ing Theodore Kirkpatrick, specialist in Communist cases. 

Methods used by the Communists to ensnare radio and television 
artists are presented in the book, which describes a "blacklist" system 
whereby they attempt to freeze anti-Red persons out of the industry. 
Those who support the Communists, the book says, are boosted with 
better jobs. 

On Sunday, two days later, the first reports of the Korean con- 
flict began trickling across the pages of the nation's newspapers. 

14 



Five days later, when Walter WinchelTs Girl Friday's report ap- 
peared in the Mirror, she spoke of a shakeup in radio-tv and cited 
as the cause of it not Red Channels but that other explosion the 
Korean War. "Dear Mr. W.," Girl Friday wrote, "The Korean 
crisis sent network officials into action to rid programs of 'persons 
who might embarrass them.' " 

The editors of Counterattack, throughout the summer, kept their 
readers informed of Red Channels' impact. The day after Red 
Channels was published, Counterattack warned: 

IN AN EMERGENCY (at any given time) 

IT WOULD REQUIRE ONLY THREE PERSONS (subversives) 

one engineer in master control at a radio network 

one director in a radio studio 

one VOICE before a microphone 
TO REACH 90 MILLION AMERICAN PEOPLE 
WITH A MESSAGE* 

Two weeks later it was able to report: "Nationwide Reception 
of Red Channels Is Overwhelmingly Favorable. Since publication 
of Counterattack's report, two weeks ago, on Communist influence 
in the radio and television industry, favorable notices and praise 
for Red Channels have appeared in broadcasting industry publica- 
tions and in daily newspapers from New York to Los Angeles. Ed 
Sullivan, master of ceremonies of the popular tv show Toast of the 
Town,' praised Red Channels highly in his nationally syndicated 
column, 'Little Old New York.' One of the things stressed by 
Sullivan was the importance and power of Counterattack hi the 
radio and television industry." 

The newsletter, however, added that "Counterattack, in itself, has 
no power or importance. Any influence Counterattack has exerted 
for good in the broadcasting industry has come from the loyal 

*Val Peterson, Administrator of Federal Civil Defense, stated in June, 1955, 
that "in actual civil defense emergencies, use would be made, as required, of the 
various forms of existing communications which are governed by appropriate 
Federal Communications Commission regulations." 

15 



freedom-loving Americans who are subscribers and who act on the 
information given in the newsletter." 

One of the first Red Channels listees to come forward with an 
"explanation" was actor Roger De Koven, who had one citation 
(the Waldorf Peace Conference) . In the July 7 edition of Counter- 
attack his case was covered. 

After a consultation which impressed Counterattack with his sin- 
cerity, De Koven signed a statement embodying the following clauses: 
"1. He has absolutely no sympathy for the Communist movement, 
domestic or foreign and is opposed to totalitarians of all kinds. 2. He 
believes that the present government of Russia under Stalin, is an 
absolute dictatorship and completely undemocratic. 3. At the time he 
agreed to sponsor the Waldorf Conference he did not know that it was 
a Communist front affair. If he had known its true nature he would 
not have sponsored it. His stand on this matter applies to all Commu- 
nist fronts, present or future. 4. When he agreed to read the speech 
of Dr. Juan Marinello of Cuba and message of writer Thomas Mann 
at the Conference, he did not know that Marinello was Chairman of 
Communist Party of Cuba or that Mann had an extensive record of 
Communist front activity.* 

Red Channels listees continued to be named each week in the 
newsletter, to show that they were still active in the entertainment 
field. The immediate cry went up that the booklet was intended as a 
blacklist. But Counterattack was ready for the charge. On July 28 
it dealt with the problem: 

But the whole "blacklist" question is a sham. "Blacklisting," the 
firing of a person (or refusal to hire him) for .union activity, is for- 
bidden by federal and state laws. A union local resolution cannot add 
strength to these laws. They are already completely effective. 

Groups interested in this campaign are really concerned about what 
they call "political" blacklisting. But broadcasting companies don't 



* De Koven was cited solely for his participation in the Waldorf Peace Confer- 
ence: "translated message received from Thomas Mann; also translated speech of 
Dr. Juan Marinello of Cuba." 

16 



blacklist Republicans, Democrats, Socialists or any other loyal 
Americans. 

They do have an obligation, as a matter of public trust, to refuse to 
hire those who give aid and comfort to Stalin by helping his U.S. arm, 
the Communist Party, or its numerous front organizations. 

Just what individuals listed in Red Channels had to do to get off 
the hook was discussed in September, 1950. In a zig-zag of affirma- 
tion and denial, Counterattack tried to clear up the matter: 

What the New York Times Said and Didn't Say. Last week Counter- 
attack reported that the New York Herald Tribune had stated in an 
editorial that Ted Kirkpatrick, managing editor of Counterattack, had 
been "quoted as announcing that none whom he suspects will be 
absolved until they have come to him with positive proof of their 
innocence" and that later "the New York Times reported this falsehood 
as a fact." 

Actually the Times didn't say quite that. It said that Kirkpatrick 
"said he believed persons accused of pro-Communist sympathies had 
to offer affirmative proof of their innocence." Many readers inferred 
that this meant that such proof had to be offered to him, though the 
Times didn't say so. Naturally, such a doctrine is repellent to Ameri- 
canism and to justice. Nobody who is merely accused of anything has 
to offer affirmative proof of innocence to anybody. 

A few more listees came forward in October with statements of 
denial and/or recantation. The newsletter noted their statements 
in its pages. 

Meanwhile, Counterattack subscribers and the groups they 
alerted were bombarding the networks with letters and receiving 
replies from one network (CBS) assuring them that "through 
our control of programs on the air, we believe we have made Com- 
munist infiltration impossible." Whereupon the newsletter armed 
its subscribers with the names of nine persons who had recently 
appeared on CBS. All were Red Channels listees. It seemed clear 
that CBS and Counterattack were talking about two different things 
when they spoke of "infiltration." 

17 



About this time, Red Channels was fast becoming a source in 
itself. The booklet of course has long been replaced, but since one 
of its authors* has stated that the "basic issue" of such compila- 
tions is in their "accuracy," and has carried this conviction over into 
AWARE, Inc., a more recent effort "to combat the Communist con- 
spiracy in entertainment-communications," a look at Red Channels 
may still be of some value. 

"The most remarkable thing about the whole furor over AWARE," 
Vincent Hartnett wrote the Editor of The New York Times, "is 
that none of A WARE'S critics seem inclined to discuss the basic 
issue: Was A WARE'S Publication No. 12 accurate or was it not?" 
Publication No. 12 is a compilation similar to Red Channels. The 
compilations are lists of the leftist activities of various show people, 
and the burden of the argument seems to be that those listed are 
either "dupes" or genuine subversives. On the basis of such lists, 
people are decreed "unemployable." Hartnett would have it that 
the "basic issue" is whether these publications faithfully and hon- 
estly report what is in their source documents. The defining of the 
"basic issue," then, seems to represent in its small way the Triumph 
of the Clerk. Indeed the impression left by a study of Hartnett's 
work leads one to believe that he has modeled himself after 
Chaucer's Clerk of Oxenford: 

Noght o word spak he moore than was neede 
And that was seyd in forme and reverence 
And short and quyk and full of hy sentence 

In defining the "basic issue," Vincent Hartnett is on safe grounds, 
for there is no question of his clerkly talents Red Channels is a 
model of transcription. Its compiler faithfully copied down the 
citations in the original sources. His slight errors are wholly for- 
givable, considering the tedium of the task he set himself to. So if 



* Vincent Hartnett, though never an editor of Counterattack, wrote the introduc- 
tion to the book and speaks of it as "my Red Channels." 

18 



Hartnett has correctly stated the "basic issue," he and AWARE, 
Inc. and all the others have won the argument hands down. 

But has he? 

It should be remembered that nearly all the official documents 
cited by the professional anti-Communist are tabulations of names 
made by the Communists themselves. No hearings have been held 
to determine whether or not the use of these names was authorized. 
In some cases they were not authorized. But, that aside, has Vin- 
cent Hartnett defined the "basic issue"? Are those whose minds 
float toward ethical abstracts, who wish to discuss issues of "in- 
nuendo," "due process," "civil liberties," or "slander" out of touch 
with current reality? That is a quarrel which has separated pro- 
and anti-blacklisting factions in labor unions, newspaper offices, 
theatre companies and living rooms ever since Red Channels 
appeared. 

Page 9 of Red Channels, which sets forth the authors' purposes, 
seems to be the most unread section of the book. Three purposes 
are listed: 

One, to show how the Communists have been able to carry out their 
plan of infiltration of the radio and television industry. 

Two, to indicate the extent to which many prominent actors and 
artists have been inveigled to lend their names, according to these 
public records, to organizations espousing Communist causes. This, 
regardless of whether they actually believe in, sympathize with, or even 
recognize the cause advanced. 

Three, to discourage actors and artists from naively lending their 
names to Communist organizations or causes in the future. 

One or two points, raised by the first of these purposes, still seem 
worthy of discussion. The first purpose begs two questions: Did the 
Communists have a "plan of infiltration"? The word "infiltration" 
is vague at best - it might mean "gaining influence" or "executive 
control" or it might mean "technical control." Only the first of these 
would fit the instances cited in Red Channels. Granted, however, 

19 



that there was such a plan, the second question is whether these 
subversive elements were able to carry it out. 

Certainly, in the beginning, the networks, and possibly the ad 
agencies and sponsors, did not understand what Counterattack 
meant by "infiltration." When complaints came in about this or that 
one working, industry spokesmen answered that they had full 
control over everything heard on the air. 

The second purpose indicates that the compilers are not separat- 
ing the "guilty" from the "innocent." They are simply listing every- 
one at the scene of the crime and leave it to each to establish 
his innocence. "According to these public records," the compilers 
assert. And since the citations are generally accurate, and since 
Vincent Hartnett says their accuracy is the "basic issue," then . . . 
But what happens when the source document is wrong? 

Pianist Hazel Scott, who was listed in Red Channels and is the 
wife of a Congressman, was given the opportunity (because of her 
husband's status) to testify, under oath, about her Red Channels 
listings. She had nine listings : 

National Citizens Political Action Committee 

Citizens Non-Partisan Committee to Elect Benjamin J. Davis 

Progressive Citizens of America (Citizens Committee of the 

Upper West Side) 
Musician's Congress Committee 
Artists' Front to Win the War 

American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born 
American Peace Mobilization 
Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee 
Civil Rights Congress 

After stating that she had never been notified her name was to 
appear in this unfavorable context, Miss Scott ran down the list: 

One of these listings was for an appearance, by direction of my 
employer, which was perfectly proper at the time. Another was osten- 
sibly a series of benefits for orphaned children. As soon as I found out 
otherwise I discontinued my activity. Still another involved the use of 

20 



my name three years after I played a benefit for a group which there- 
after merged with one that developed a bad name. A fourth advertised 
that I was a guest of honor at a dinner I never went to or even heard of. 
Three others I refused to join. The remaining two I never heard of. 

The "guest of honor" and three other listings in Red Channels 
were supported by reference to the House Committee's own "Ap- 
pendix IX." Did the Committee decide that if "Appendix IX" 
could be so wrong about one person the document should be re- 
examined? No. Did it apologize, in this one instance? Again, no. 
The members were more interested in whether or not Red Channels 
was accurate in its citation of the document. If it was, why was 
Miss Scott complaining? Miss Scott, not too irrelevantly, pointed 
out that it was of little consequence that Red Channels was accurate 
if "Appendix IX" was not. But the Committee said it was just ad- 
vancing a courtesy to her and was not interested in "Appendix IX." 



21 



The First Cases 



IN RADIO AND TELEVISION, blacklisting began in a blaze of pub- 
licity and became an institution in secrecy. 

From 1949 until '51 a series of front-page cases spotlighted the 
hiring policies of the networks, sponsors and agencies in New York. 
In the William Sweets, Jean Muir, Ireene Wicker and Elmer Rice 
cases, the public was involved in a national debate on the question. 
Each new development was reported in the theatrical trade press and 
the nation's newspapers. Editorials were written, meetings were 
held, organized groups took sides. But by the end of 1951, it was 
clear to the industry's leaders that a public debate about political 
screening would arouse a controversy almost as distasteful as any 
centered on the alleged pro-Communist sympathies of producers, 
directors and actors. 

There was no conspiratorial decision on the part of radio-tv 
management there was simply a Gentlemen's Agreement to keep 
silence. The industry decided that the public debate must come to 
an end. It accepted blacklisting as a burden of its day-to-day ex- 
istence but, for good reasons, decided that this fact must be kept 
secret. Blacklisting was institutionalized behind closed doors. 

When General Foods fired the television actress Jean Muir from 
her role in "The Aldrich Family," protests came in from two com- 
peting groups. One set of critics threatened to boycott General 
Foods if Jean Muir appeared as Henry Aldrich's mother; another 
threatened a boycott if the actress were fired. Either way, the com- 
pany stood to lose customers. More than that, General Foods ran 

22 



the risk of having its name associated with a bitter political con- 
troversy. If, to satisfy its right-wing critics, it decided that Jean 
Muir could not work, liberal pressure groups would denounce it 
for violating American tradition. If it attempted to stand by that 
tradition and retain the actress, it faced the danger of being charged 
with indifference to national security. 

The resolution for General Foods and ultimately for the entire 
industry of networks, advertising agencies, sponsors and packagers 
was to placate the right-wing group and silence the liberals. The 
strategic key was secrecy. If there were a discreet check into the 
background of employees before they were hired, then the local 
groups of the American Legion, the Catholic War Veterans, or the 
readers of Counterattack would have no cause to write letters or 
phone in their protests. And since there would be no firings, be- 
cause controversial persons were not hired in the first place, the 
liberal groups would be frustrated. 

The inevitable result of such a solution was the institutionalizing 
of blacklisting. Some advertising agencies, like Batten, Barton, 
Durstine and Osborn, appointed executives to serve as "security 
officers." At the Columbia Broadcasting System a vice president 
was appointed to implement the network's policy. At the National 
Broadcasting Company and a number of advertising agencies, 
legal departments were entrusted with this duty. One of the larger 
packagers under fire set up a "white list." A new profession was 
developed. Independent "consultants," like the publishers of 
Counterattack and Vincent Hartnett (the keeper of File 13, a. land 
of expanded Red Channels) , made a business out of servicing spon- 
sors and agencies who did not have a full-time executive on the job. 

Political discrimination had existed in the radio industry before 
1949. The Communists themselves exerted considerable influence 
over certain shows. On these programs, Party members and their 
sympathizers found work easy to come by; their enemies were often 

23 



out in the cold. Various sponsors intervened from time to time to 
bar certain persons on political grounds. A well-known radio 
producer remembers being told not to use Mrs. Roosevelt, or 
anyone like her, on a quiz panel long before blacklisting was insti- 
tutionalized. Yet this kind of discrimination was informal and 
personal. It was accepted as one of the normal hazards in a highly 
competitive industry. Systematic political screening did not begin 
until some time in late 1950 or early '51, though its origins date 
back to '49. 

In the spring of that year, William Sweets, a well-known radio 
director employed by the Phillips H. Lord packaging firm in New 
York, was told that the sponsors of the two shows he worked on 
had raised questions about his political associations. Sweets later 
said publicly that he was forced to resign. A group called the Voice 
of Freedom Committee took an interest in his case and loudly pro- 
tested the forced resignation. (Later, attendance at Voice of Free- 
dom rallies for Sweets was noted on various dossiers as evidence of 
pro-Communist sympathy.) All this was widely publicized. 

Then, in the fall of 1950, a series of Red Channels cases became 
public. Jean Muir was dropped from the Aldrich show; Ireene 
Wicker, the Singing Lady, had her television program cancelled; 
Gypsy Rose Lee* and Hazel Scott were under attack. Around the 
same time, CBS, the Young and Rubicam agency and General 
Foods (sponsor in the Jean Muir case) began to discuss the difn- 



* Miss Lee was attacked by Edward damage, a prominent Chicago Legionnaire. 
She had been cited in Red Channels for collaborating with four groups labelled 
Red. When the charge was made, she drew up a list of about 300 of her benefit 
appearances which Red Channels failed to mention. "Entertainers are always being 
asked to help causes, and they all sound innocuous," she stated. "Should we wire 
our Congressmen to investigate before we do a benefit performance? I'm not a 
Red and never have been." 

Robert E. Kintner, president of the American Broadcasting Company, refused 
to act on damage's complaint, stating that he would not accept Red Channels as 
gospel. He demanded that damage provide "proof that Gypsy is a Communist." 
damage could only refer to Red Channels, and the case ended there. 

24 



culties surrounding the employment of Philip Loeb, who played 
Jake on "The Goldbergs." These cases attracted headlines. 

In 1951 the McCarran Internal Security Subcommittee held 
hearings on the "Subversive Infiltration of Radio, Television and the 
Entertainment Industry." Two radio writers invoked the Fifth 
Amendment at this hearing. A number of friendly witnesses told 
of Communist efforts to blacklist anti-Communists in the industry. 
When the Committee released an edited version of the hearings 
(immediately before a Radio Writers Guild election in the fall of 
1952), the story hit the front pages. 

By 1952, a writer, actor, director or producer listed in Red 
Channels, cited in Counterattack or otherwise charged with Com- 
munist sympathies found it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to 
get work without first being cleared. By this time political screen- 
ing was almost universally practiced on Madison Avenue. An 
elaborate blacklisting machinery had been set up. But in the 
cases which arose before 1952 the elements were all present. 

In the late Forties an executive at the Phillips H. Lord office in 
New York received a job-application from a young Navy veteran 
named Vincent Hartnett. Hartnett was hired by the radio packag- 
ing firm. 

One of the men with whom Hartnett worked at the Lord office 
was Bill Sweets, who had many friends in the radio field and was 
generally regarded as a top director. Sweets was in charge of 
"Gangbusters" and "Counterspy." His blacklisting troubles began 
one day when he was informed by a Lord executive that Clarence 
Francis, president of General Foods, and Walter Mack, of Pepsi- 
Cola sponsors of the Sweets shows had received letters charg- 
ing that the programs were being directed by a Communist who 
hired other Communists and discriminated against anti-Commu- 
nists. For three weeks the Lord office dealt with these sponsors and 
their agencies (Young & Rubicam for General Foods; Biow for 

25 



Pepsi-Cola) in an effort to solve the problem. But eventually the 
packaging firm executives decided that they had to choose between 
Sweets and the sponsors. The company felt it could not afford to 
lose two such big accounts. Sweets was asked to turn in his 
resignation. 

The director was permitted to remain at his job until the season 
was completed, but his right to name his own casting lists was 
limited immediately. There were rumors in the office at the time 
that Hartnett was exercising an influence over the choice of actors 
for the shows, but they have never been substantiated. In any event, 
during the same period Hartnett began to write as a specialist on 
Communist infiltration into the radio-tv industry. It was widely 
known that an anonymous article on that subject which appeared in 
The Sign, a Catholic monthly published hi New Jersey, was written 
by him. And in 1950, Hartnett collaborated with the editors of 
Counterattack on Red Channels. 

During the summer of 1949, Sweets was out of New York. The 
Radio Directors Guild tried to negotiate his case with the Lord 
office but failed. Earlier, Sweets had resigned his post as National 
President of that Guild when he was called upon to sign a non- 
Communist affidavit.* In announcing Sweets' resignation, Nicky 
Burnett, executive secretary of the Radio Directors, had described 
him as a "fighter against communism." (Sweets remained a mem- 
ber of the Guild hi good standing after he left the presidency.) 

That same summer Sweets was approached by the Voice of Free- 
dom Committee and asked to appear at a rally in New York. The 
Committee, which had been organized to support liberal com- 



* Sweets later stated: "The only unions whose officers are required to sign the 
affidavit are those which desire the service of the National Labor Relations Board. 
The Union of which I was international president, the Radio and Television 
Directors Guild, has had no need up to the present time of the Labor Relations 
Board's services, and therefore has not filed non-Communist affidavits with the 
Board . . . My reason for not signing such an affidavit was and is that once 
people start asking for affidavits, they sometimes don't know when to stop." 

26 



mentators and harass "reactionaries," used more or less the same 
techniques the pro-blacklisting groups later relied on. When a 
"liberal" commentator was dropped, or a "reactionary" newscaster 
appeared on the air, the Voice of Freedom screamed and its fol- 
lowers directed their protests to stations or networks. 

The VOF meeting for Sweets was held at the Hotel Abbey in 
New York, August 11, 1949. Variety reported that about 200 
writers, directors and actors attended the meeting. (Later, when 
they were trying to clear themselves, many had to "explain" why 
they attended.) In his speech at the meeting, Sweets charged that 
the industry was developing a blacklisting policy. He charged that 
the American Legion maintained a "list" of actors and actresses in 
Hollywood (quoting columnist Jimmy Fidler as his authority). 
"As I see it," he told his supporters, "a blacklist is a device, per- 
fectly legal in most instances whereby the principle of 'exclu- 
sivity' may be exercised. It is a list of people who are to be ex- 
cluded, and it is the list that is usually kept secret. Kept secret 
because in a democracy to appear to be exclusive isn't the thing to 
do." He concluded: "Nor is it loyalty to the United States that is 
really questioned in the case of persons whose names are on black- 
lists today. It is rather their loyalty to ideas of free action 
loyalty I am convinced in my case to the ideas of the National 
Association of Manufacturers and the American Association of 
Advertising Agencies ... I do not intend, at the request of some 
sponsors, to give up my sponsorship of meetings such as this of 
May Day parades, or of world peace." 

Later that fall the Voice of Freedom Committee held another 
protest meeting at Town Hall and circulated a leaflet which repro- 
duced newspaper stories about blacklisting, statements from various 
theatrical unions and guilds, and carried a message from Sweets. 
(This rally was also cited in Red Channels as a Communist 
undertaking. ) 

In Sweets' speech at the first rally he made no charges against 

27 



Hartnett by name. Whatever connection is made between the 
Sweets firing and Hartnett's own activity at the time is largely a 
deduction drawn from the "talent consultant's" later operations. 
Nevertheless, it is clear that Hartnett's association with the Lord 
company, and his experience in the Sweets case, contributed to the 
thesis he expanded on in The Sign, Red Channels, American Mer- 
cury and the American Legion Magazine. 

The case of William Sweets foreshadowed what was to come. 
The central point was the proposition that Communists were using 
their influence in the industry to hire their friends and discriminate 
against their enemies. This allegation persisted throughout the de- 
velopment of blacklisting and continued long after most of the 
people charged with Communist sympathies could no longer find 
work. As late as the summer of 1955, Godfrey P. Schmidt, presi- 
dent of AWARE, Inc., repeated the charge in a dispute with John 
Crosby, radio-tv writer for the New York Herald Tribune. 

But more important than the actual personalities involved in the 
Sweets affair was the reaction within the industry itself. Significant 
companies were concerned: General Foods, Pepsi-Cola, Young & 
Rubicam, Biow and Phillips H. Lord, Inc. Their behavior was the 
first indication of how relatively easy it would be for outside pres- 
sure groups to gain significant control over hiring and firing. 

The sponsors were reacting to a few letters. There was no evi- 
dence of an organized boycott; only a handful of listeners were 
protesting. But the officials decided to act on the complaints and 
called in the advertising agencies to assist them. Within three weeks 
it was generally agreed that Sweets should be asked to resign. On 
the part of the packager, the decision was clearly based on commer- 
cial considerations a fear of losing two major accounts and not 
on any dissatisfaction with the director himself or with the way he 
was casting his shows. 

The radio-tv industry, of course, is singularly susceptible to pres- 
sure. Hollywood certainly goes out of its way to avoid offending 

28 



any significant section of the public. But the film industry has been 
willing to deal with controversial subjects (racial prejudice, for 
example) as long as the prospect of a heightened interest in some 
quarters promises to compensate for moviegoers who might be lost. 
The radio-tv industry, though, is devoted to advertising. Sponsors 
seek "100% acceptability" for their products. Any group, however 
small, which is alienated because of the content of a radio or 
television show, or because of a performer on the show, must be 
placated. 

The Sweets affair differed from most of the blacklisting cases 
which came later in so far as it was allowed to become public. In 
1949 it seemed to be an isolated incident. Red Channels and the 
Korean War were yet to come. The full development of black- 
listing would take two or three years. Still it now seems clear that 
the ultimate outcome was inevitable from the beginning. For if the 
industry would surrender to pressure in 1949, then as the Cold War 
intensified (and the pressures intensified), it was only a matter 
of time until systematic political screening would become an 
institution. 

During the first year of Red Channels' existence, blacklisting 
developed in contradictory fashion. At one point General Foods, 
the sponsor involved in both the Sweets and Jean Muir cases, an- 
nounced that it would no longer fire performers simply because 
they were "controversial." But by the middle of 1951, that brave 
statement seemed in retrospect to have been merely a momentary 
challenge to an overwhelming trend. Throughout 1950 various 
pressure groups and powerful individuals combined their efforts in 
a campaign to make Red Channels a near absolute criterion for hir- 
ing in the radio-tv industry. By and large the campaign succeeded. 

"The Aldrich Family" was a television program sponsored by 
General Foods. In August, 1950, Young & Rubicam, General 
Foods' advertising agency for the Jell-O show, announced that Jean 

29 



Muir, a former movie actress, had been assigned the role of Mother 
Aldrich. Miss Muir was to make her first appearance on August 27. 
Shortly after the announcement that she would join the show, an 
editor of Counterattack, Theodore Kirkpatrick, called several per- 
sons and asked them to organize a protest. Jean Muir was listed in 
Red Channels. As a result of the protests, Miss Muir was dropped 
from the show, paid the full amount called for by her contract, and 
another former movie actress, Nancy Carroll, took her place. 

The people who made the phone calls resulting in the Muir fir- 
ing were typical of the individuals and pressure groups that are still 
the backbone of blacklisting. For the most part they are vocal sup- 
porters of the far right wing of American politics. Several of them 
later emerged as vociferous partisans of Senator McCarthy. Though 
few in number, they represented the threat of a potential boycott 
and a controversy that could only be anathema to any corporation 
intent on pleasing everybody. 

Among those Kirkpatrick called was Mrs. Hester McCullough 
of Greenwich, Connecticut, wife of a Time editor. Mrs. McCul- 
lough had recently been involved in a legal suit with Paul Draper, 
the dancer, and the harmonica player Larry Adler. She had ac- 
cused these two entertainers of pro-Communist sympathy. 

Rabbi Benjamin Schultz, of the Joint Committee Against Com- 
munism in New York, called to protest Miss Muir's appearance 
and claimed he was speaking for two million Americans. Neither in 
the Muir case nor in those that came up later did the industry at- 
tempt to check on whether those who acted as organization spokes- 
men had received authorization from their memberships. There is 
little doubt, though, that in most cases they would have been given 
general support. But how many people were aroused was hardly 
relevant, for to sponsors even a small group represents a potential 
threat. 

In 1952 Merle Miller reported in The Judges and the Judged 
that General Foods hired Dr. George Gallup's research organization 

30 



to make a survey of the actual impact of the Muir case. This was 
during a violent controversy debated in newspapers throughout the 
United States. Miller quoted an official spokesman for General 
Foods: 

Less than 40% [of the cross section] had ever heard of the Muir 
affair. And of those that had, less than three percent could relate the 
name of General Foods or the product involved, Jell-O, with the name 
of Muir. They tied up the name of Muir hazily with General Mills, 
even the Bell Telephone Company. To check up further, we telephoned 
several General Foods sales offices in other cities like Chicago. We 
asked "How has the Muir publicity affected our sales?" The answer 
invariably was, "Muir? Who's Muir?" 

The General Foods sales offices did not know the name Jean 
Muir but the name was to become symbolic in the radio-tv industry. 
Her firing was the first directly attributable to Red Channels. 

Today Miss Muir, though cleared, no longer appears on televi- 
sion. "A performer who has even been unfairly charged with com- 
munism as Jean Muir was is like a bruised apple," a tv execu- 
tive explained not long ago. "You understand don't you? the 
brown spot remains." Miss Muir who was celebrating her twen- 
tieth year in show business on the very day she was fired has 
turned her energies to social work. 

The Muir affair reveals something about the pressures which 
beset the industry. The case of Ireene Wicker is interesting for what 
it tells about Red Channels and the attitudes of those professionally 
involved in agitating for political screening. Miss Wicker signed a 
contract to do a television show for the Kellogg Company hi Feb- 
ruary, 1949. The contract was renewed a year later. Then in June, 
1950 her name was listed in Red Channels and in August the con- 
tract was cancelled. 

When Red Channels came out, John Crosby, the radio-tv column- 
ist, telephoned Miss Wicker to tell her she was among those listed. 

31 



Later, Crosby wrote a column entitled "Any of You Children Been 
Subverted Recently?" He wrote: 

Somebody put her name down on the Committee [for the re-election 
of Benjamin J. Davis] and she has been smeared like so many people 
are smeared nowadays ... In 1945 her most suspicious activity 
Miss Wicker loaned her house for a benefit for Spanish refugee chil- 
dren. Miss Wicker was under the misapprehension that children were 
essentially non-political animals . . . 

After she discovered she had been "listed," Ireene Wicker de- 
cided to visit the Counterattack office and talk with Theodore 
Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick discussed the Daily Worker story which 
numbered her among those who signed a nominating petition for 
Benjamin Davis, Communist candidate for the New York City 
Council in 1945. Miss Wicker told the Counterattack editor she 
had not been in New York City at the time the petition was circu- 
lated early in 1945, had never even heard of Benjamin Davis and 
certainly could not recall ever having signed a petition for his 
nomination. Kirkpatrick answered that he had reprinted the facts 
as they appeared in the Daily Worker. 

He shifted the conversation then to a discussion of what Miss 
Wicker had done to express her opposition of communism. She 
cited several patriotic activities she conducted an "I'm glad I am 
an American because. . . ." contest for children, she recorded a 
series based on American history entitled "Sing a Song of History," 
etc. But Kirkpatrick was not impressed. Then the actress men- 
tioned that she had allowed her only son to enlist in the Royal 
Canadian Air Force before he was 18. The boy, who was shot 
down in Europe, joined up in 1940, during the Hitler-Stalin pact, 
a time when American Communists were engaged in their "Yanks 
Are Not Coming" campaign. But even that was not enough. Miss 
Wicker left the Counterattack office without convincing Kirkpatrick. 

Later she obtained a court order so her lawyer could examine 

32 



all 30,000 names on the nominating petitions for Benjamin Davis. 
Her name was not among those listed. 
In October, Counterattack reported: 

Ireene Wicker . . . has made the following statement to Counter- 
attack: "I emphatically declare I am not, never have been and never 
could be a Communist or Communist sympathizer in any sense of 
these terms. The fundamental doctrine of Communism is abhorrent 
to me. It is in direct opposition to the American principles I have 
always upheld and advocated." The statement in Red Channels that the 
Daily Worker of September 15, 1945 reported her as a sponsor of the 
Artists, Writers and Professional Division of the Committee for the 
Re-election of Benjamin J. Davis is true, Miss Wicker says. She states, 
however, that she was not aware of this fact until publication of Red 
Channels. She absolutely denies the Daily Worker report that she was 
a sponsor of this committee. She also denies categorically that she ever 
supported Davis for re-election, that she gave his campaign committee 
permission to use her name or that she knew her name had been used 
by the committee. Miss Wicker recently wrote a letter to the Daily 
Worker demanding a retraction of its report that she sponsored the 
Davis committee. She received a reply from David Freedman of the 
law firm of Unger, Freedman and Fleischer, attorneys for the Daily 
Worker, which states that the Worker story was based on a news release 
from the Davis committee which did not contain the signatures of the 
sponsors listed. Freedman said that the Daily Worker "regrets very 
much if that publication contained any error of fact." 

Counterattack's action in printing Miss Wicker's statement, and 
those of other Red Channels listees, was picked up by the New 
York press. Part of the newsletter's release, as quoted in the New 
York Post for October 27, 1950, said: ''Counterattack wishes to 
repeat that Red Channels did not call Miss Wicker, or any other 
person mentioned in the report, a Communist or a Communist sym- 
pathizer." The Daily News radio and television column for the 27th, 
written by Ben Gross, was headed "Ireene Wicker Cleared." Gross 
concluded his piece : "Last night, reports circulated in broadcasting 
circles that both Miss Muir and Miss Wicker would soon return to 

33 



the air." And the next day, the New York Mirror commented 
"Ireene Wicker . . . will be back on the air any day now. She has 
been cleared of charges that she was a sponsor of a committee . . ." 

But years were to pass before Ireene Wicker actually returned 
to the air. She never regained the professional standing she had 
before Red Channels was published. 

When her agent tried to sell the Singing Lady show during 1951 
and '52 he heard: "What about Red Channels? We wouldn't touch 
her with a ten foot pole." Her only work during this period was a 
radio series on a small station in North Adams, Massachusetts. 
(There were no protests.) Miss Wicker was permitted to make 
guest appearances. She was once interviewed on the Tex and Jinx 
show, but after a second program with them had been scheduled, 
NBC called to tell her it was cancelled. Finally in 1953 she was 
given an ABC show which went on the air Sundays at 11 :30 in the 
morning. This program continued through 1954 under the sponsor- 
ship of Little Lady Toiletries. During the entire run of the program 
only one protesting letter was received. The program was finally 
dropped but Red Channels was not connected with the decision to 
give it up. Since then Miss Wicker has not had a regular show. 

Miss Wicker's post-Red Channels experience illustrates a prob- 
lem faced by many performers who are blacklisted and later cleared. 
At the time of her trouble, the Singing Lady was riding a wave of 
popularity built up over a period of years. Then, just as television 
was beginning to boom and it was very important that she stay in 
the public eye, she was fired. Though she has long since been 
cleared, it is impossible for her to regain the years lost. The Red 
Channels experience has obviously had a permanent effect on her 
career. 

On September 26, 1950, General Foods announced it was "tem- 
porarily" suspending the policy which led to the dismissal of Jean 
Muir. In making this statement the company also said that its 

34 



action had been prompted by the questions raised about Philip 
Loeb's employment on "The Goldbergs" show. Four letters had 
been received protesting Loeb's appearance. According to the press 
release, three were addressed to CBS, one to General Foods. 

It seemed then that General Foods was resisting the growth of 
blacklisting and had decided that some kind of solution could be 
worked out. But at best, this was a surface impression. For in 
the statement accompanying the General Foods announcement 
there was a clear implication that the problem was anything but 
solved. General Foods said: 

Discussions are now taking place in the industry to find a construc- 
tive solution to the broad problems growing out of such disloyalty 
charges. In view of this development and in consideration of any who 
are associated with our radio and television programs, General Foods 
will temporarily suspend application of the company's long standing 
policy covering use of controversial material and personalities. We 
will encourage and cooperate with any constructive effort towards a 
lasting solution which will be fair and equitable to all parties concerned. 

Loeb remained on "The Goldbergs" from the fall of 1950 until 
spring, '51. During that period, meeting after meeting was held be- 
tween General Foods, CBS, Young and Rubicam, Gertrude Berg, 
the star and owner of the show, and others concerned with his 
problem. No "lasting solution" resulted from these "constructive 
efforts." Far from indicating that some candid method of dealing 
with blacklisting was in the offing, the General Foods' statement 
actually preluded the complete triumph of political screening. 

Loeb once told about a meeting held during the period when 
he was on the air but still under fire. It took place in a room at the 
General Foods office. Clarence Francis, president of General 
Foods, and Frank Stanton, president of CBS, were there. Loeb 
arrived with Mrs. Berg. Francis asked him when he was going to 
clear himself and remove the cloud that hung over him. Loeb said 
he felt "doomed" when the suggestion was made. He had thought 

35 



it was going to be possible to solve his problem without passing 
through humiliating "clearance" procedures. 

It all began in the summer of 1950. Mrs. Berg had been in Holly- 
wood making a film. When she returned to New York she was told 
about Red Channels; Loeb was among those listed. CBS was ex- 
pecting trouble and General Foods had already expressed concern. 
Nothing was definite, no decisions had been made, but some action 
would have to be taken. (If General Foods' policy statement in late 
September was accurate, only four protests had been received at 
this time; yet these four were enough to precipitate a crisis on the 
top level of the industry.) 

Those close to Mrs. Berg at the time say she was shocked. She 
thought it "un-American" that anyone should demand Loeb be fired 
on the basis of unproved charges. General Foods had not threatened 
to cancel the show and Frank Stanton of CBS was sympathetic. 
During this period Mrs. Berg vigorously defended Loeb. Blacklist- 
ing was still a dirty word and the industry had not yet learned to 
live with it. Loeb rejected a suggestion that he make a speech over 
the Voice of America. He felt that this would involve compromis- 
ing his position; by going through even this much of a "clearance" 
procedure, he thought he would be giving support to those who 
made the charges against him in the first place. (He later denied 
under oath that he was a Communist. ) Eventually, Loeb did agree 
to make some public statements on communism, but they were not 
widely reported and did little to help. 

The Goldbergs show, with Loeb playing Jake, ran for 39 weeks. 
During that time there were numerous meetings. Every 13th week 
the situation was completely reviewed and a new attempt to find a 
solution made but all failed. No outside agency had yet moved in 
to take over the industry's responsibility for its own hiring policies. 
There were suggestions that an impartial board be set up to "judge" 
people like Loeb, but nothing came of them. Within the talent 
unions there was agitation for some kind of action, but the unions 

36 



were already so rent by factional struggles over the blacklist issue 
that, again, nothing was done. 

When the Goldbergs show ended its regular season in the spring 
of 1951 it was dropped by General Foods and moved over to NBC. 
And when it returned to the air, Phil Loeb was no longer playing 
Jake. This, then, was the final solution of the problem. In the 
New York Journal- American for August 25, 1951, radio-television 
columnist Jack O'Brian announced what everyone knew: the real 
reason "The Goldbergs" had lost its sponsor on CBS was Loeb's 
presence on the program. O'Brian noted that Phil Loeb was gone 
"after a long and luxurious hiatus in [CBS's] pink-tinged boudoir." 

Loeb reached a contract settlement with Mrs. Berg in January, 
1952. But as the late George Heller, an official of the television 
artists union, said at the time: "And so a settlement was made, a 
financial settlement but not a settlement of the issue." "The issue," 
Loeb stated in a memo to the national board of the Television 
Authority, "is my blacklisting. I did not come to my union for a 
financial settlement ... I came for truth and justice. I am still 
seeking truth and justice ... I am deprived of work because of a 
cowardly, furtive smear campaign. The issue has not been settled 
... I claim that although innocent I have been ousted from my 
work and hounded from my profession by a dirty, undercover job." 

After he was dropped from "The Goldbergs," Loeb worked in 
the theater. He appeared in "Time Out for Ginger" on Broadway, 
and went on tour with the show. In Chicago, Edward damage* of 
the American Legion campaigned against Loeb's appearance and 
attempted to organize a boycott. But the incident did not develop 
into a public controversy, and the play ran for ten months. 

* damage, long a member of various American Legion anti-subversive commit- 
tees, is the leading spokesman for his point of view in the Chicago area. During 
recent years damage has organized campaigns against various theatrical people. 
Of late, however, most of these campaigns have failed. "He overplayed his hand," 
one Chicago newspaperman said of him. "Nobody pays much attention to Ed 
any more." 

37 



Yet Loeb never regained confidence in himself. He was bowed 
down by family problems. He felt that he had been victimized by 
those who set themselves up as guardians of the Republic. He grew 
increasingly depressed and embittered. Finally, in September, 1955, 
he went off to a hotel room and took an overdose of sleeping pills 
and in a few of the news stories about his suicide, there was some 
mention of his blacklisting difficulties. 

On November 13, 1951, Elmer Rice announced his resignation 
from a group of playwrights who were doing shows for the "Celan- 
ese Theater." "I now find," Rice wrote, "that the names of actors 
selected by you [Stellar Enterprises, the packaging corporation] are 
submitted for approval to the Ellington advertising agency, whose 
client, the Celanese Corporation of America, is the commercial 
sponsor of this program. The agency, it appears, then submits these 
names to its attorney, Walter Socolow, for 'clearance' from the 
point of view of what is euphemistically called 'public relations.' 
What this means in effect is that Mr. Socolow conducts an inquiry 
into the alleged political opinions and activities of the actors and 
bases his acceptance or rejection upon his judgment of the pro- 
priety of their political beliefs." Rice went on to claim that his resig- 
nation was motivated by the fact that several actors had been 
turned down, on political grounds, for the leading role in his play 
"Counsellor at Law." 

Rice concluded: "The air does not belong to the Ellington agency 
nor to the Celanese Corporation nor to the networks. ... It is about 
tune that this shocking situation be made clear to the American 
people." 

In the controversy that followed, specific facts hi Rice's charges 
were vehemently denied. Yet no one questioned his basic descrip- 
tion of the blacklisting process. In replying to Rice, Jesse T. Elling- 
ton, president of the advertising agency, made an almost classic 
statement of the industry's position. He held that he and his agency 

38 



had made every attempt to heed the playwright's demands in casting 
"We've tried to lean over backwards to live up to the best tradi- 
tions of the theatre and to avoid any of that political thing hi casting 
. . . But when you get somebody who may cause a lot of bad pub- 
licity for your program, you do have to be a little careful. It's an 
ordinary business safeguard." 

This was to be the industry's rationale as political screening de- 
veloped into an institution: first a reference to the traditions of the 
theater (and, often enough, to those of America) , then a word about 
"business safeguards." In almost every instance the safeguards were 
the overriding considerations; the "political thing" became all- 
important in casting. 

Later that same year, in December, 1951, Elmer Rice expanded 
on his comments in a letter written after the death of the well 
known actress Mady Christians (whose last months were made mis- 
erable by her inclusion in Red Channels). Rice wrote: "It's shock- 
ing. It's gone beyond Red Channels. Everybody has a private list. 
Anybody's career can be destroyed. Crass commercial cowardice 
has become more important than standing up for the principles of 
liberty. I'm hoping that various actors unions will start taking 
definite stands." 

The Authors League of America decided to look into the black- 
listing situation after Rice spoke out. A committee made up of 
Ruth Goetz, Laura Hobson and Rice himself was appointed to in- 
vestigate the situation but "only with respect to authors listed in 
Red Channels." The committee sent out a questionnaire to the 51 
writers who were listed; about 30 answered. Three mam lines of 
questioning were pursued. Has Red Channels had an adverse effect 
upon your employment? Does blacklisting exist? Are you willing 
to testify before the Federal Communications Commission? 

Almost all who answered were acutely aware of blacklisting; 
some said they had not been personally affected. At a meeting of 
the Authors League held after the investigation, novelist John 

39 



Hersey summed up the results by saying that the League had posi- 
tive proof of blacklisting. But the most significant answer was this : 
the majority of writers who stated they knew for sure that black- 
listing was rife also declined to testify before the Federal Commu- 
nications Commission. They gave as their reason the fact that they 
could not afford that kind of publicity. 

This, too, was an indication of what lay ahead. Because political 
screening has been carried on behind the scenes, its opponents are 
often afraid to participate in any public opposition. The dangers of 
reprisal are too great. 

It was impossible for those interested in supporting blacklisting 
to let Rice's charges go unanswered. Counterattack replied al- 
most immediately. The newsletter began by quoting Rice's state- 
ment that blacklisting "is an ugly blot upon American life and an 
ugly threat to American liberty. . . . why I'd be willing to use Paul 
Robeson if there was a place for him in the show." In dealing with 
Rice's charges, Counterattack made no effort to deny that a system 
of political screening had been set up. Instead, the newsletter fol- 
lowed a technique it had developed earlier it questioned the 
playwright's motives and tied him in with communism. 

The Counterattack editors wrote: 

Now let's look at Rice's record and see how well qualified he is to 
judge what should or should not be done about Communists and 
fronters. Here are some of the fronts Rice was member of, or whose 
functions he backed, in the late Thirties and early Forties. [11 organiza- 
tions were cited]. In more recent years, Rice has backed fronts like . . . 
[four more] ... a few years ago he backed resolution to exclude 
Communists from board of American Civil Liberties Union. But now 
he still can't see anything wrong with hiring Paul Robeson or any other 
Communist for a radio or tv show and paying such persons big money 
which they would use to support Stalin's cause while Communists 
slaughter American prisoners of war in Korea. The Communist line 
press has gone all out in support of Rice. He is a hero, a martyr, a 
defender of its phony brand of "freedom." 

40 



Counterattack's response was as typical as that of the advertising 
agency. It could serve as a basic rationale for all groups and indi- 
viduals who supported political screening. First, the fact that such 
screening was carried out was not denied, although an argument 
was centered around the use of the word "blacklist." Secondly, the 
opponents of the system were checked for past political affiliations. 
Thirdly, there was a statement about the use to which money paid 
alleged Communist entertainers would be put. Finally, there was an 
attempt to point out that opposition to blacklisting "helped the 
Communists." 

Counterattack continued this last line of argument in an issue a 
few weeks later. Speaking of Mady Christian's death, the news- 
letter wrote: "Playwright Elmer Rice, who is now a hero of CP 
because he would use known Communists on radio and tv, paved 
the way for a propaganda treatment of her death hi a letter to The 
New York Times 'Drama Mailbag.' " 

In February, 1952, Rice was reconciled with the Celanese 
Theater. The Ellington agency stated it agreed with him about op- 
posing the blacklisting trend, that it had not used lists in the past, 
and had no intention of using them in the future. Rice felt he had 
scored a victory and Counterattack glumly agreed with him. 

In the February 29 issue of the newsletter, there was an article 
beginning "What Do You Think of These Celanese Stars?" Two 
allegedly pro-Communist performers were listed. Counterattack 
concluded: 

What do the directors of the Celanese Corporation of America think 
of this and what do they intend to do about it? Are they willing part- 
ners to Rice's statement that he would feature and thus give their 
stockholders' money to an identified Communist? This is a matter of 
personal responsibility that they cannot evade. They should take a 
public stand on it. 

In the long run, the Rice incident had no lasting impact. But it 
did point up the existence of blacklisting. Whether or not Rice's 

41 



charges were accurate in every detail, they provided a good 
picture of how blacklisting was actually used in the casting of 
radio and tv shows. And the reply of the Ellington agency "but 
when you get somebody who may cause a lot of bad publicity for 
your program you have to be careful" amounts to an admission 
of the basic charges Elmer Rice made. 

By 1952, blacklisting was generally accepted in the industry. The 
frantic days of the Sweets case, the headlines of the Muir affair, the 
editorials written about Ireene Wicker were a thing of the past. 
The industry's solution to the problem was firmly institutionalized: 
don't hire controversial performers and you won't have to fire them. 

Worst of all, the operation was carried out, for the most part, 
by people who were personally and privately opposed to it. 

One of the most controversial questions in radio-tv has centered 
around the blacklisting of anti-Communists. When Merle Miller's 
The Judges and the Judged appeared in 1952, under the sponsor- 
ship of the American Civil Liberties Union, the report was attacked 
in the pages of The New Leader by Merlyn S. Pitzele, then an 
ACLU director. Pitzele charged, among other things, that Miller 
had ignored sources of information on the subject of blacklisting of 
anti-Communists (in particular, that he had not consulted with 
Morton Wishengrad, a knowledgeable radio writer), and that he 
had treated the whole question hi a brief, off-hand way which dis- 
torted the relationship between the two kinds of blacklisting. 

Miller's conclusion had been that "there would seem to be very 
little doubt that the Communist Party has been as active in radio 
and television as in the rest of the entertainment field. There can be 
no argument about the fact that, in the past at least, many small-1 
liberals have cooperated with the Party, possibly even to the extent 
of discriminating against the Party's enemies when it came to jobs. 
It is certain that in some circles it has been as costly to have been 
a premature anti-Communist as it was in others to have been pre- 
42 



maturely anti-fascist." Further, Miller had stated that ". . . not a 
single instance of such proof [of the blacklisting of anti-Commu- 
nists] was uncovered." 

A special committee of the ACLU Board reported that Miller had 
unintentionally failed to follow up certain sources of information, 
and that the "author should have been less dogmatic" in asserting 
that there was no single instance of proof of the blacklisting of anti- 
Communists. This report was later adopted by the full Board of 
Directors of the Civil Liberties Union. 

In 1951, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee heard testi- 
mony on the infiltration of Communists into the radio industry. It 
is important to note that the only testimony released to the public 
fell into two categories : first, that of witnesses generally associated 
with the far right whig in the industry; second, that of "unfriendly" 
witnesses who invoked the Fifth Amendment. The testimony of 
others who answered all questions but were identified with the 
liberal or "left-wing" faction in the union was not made public. In 
addition, one witness later stated in a letter to the Committee that 
he had been promised his evidence would not be made public and 
had been "led" in the course of questioning to use certain phrases 
which gave a false impression of the meaning he intended to give. 

During the course of these hearings, Ruth Adams Knight, a leader 
of the "right- whig" faction in the Radio Writers Guild, testified on 
the blacklisting of anti-Communists. Because of her long associa- 
tion with the right wing within the writers union, and because hers 
is one of the few public statements on the subject, Miss Knight's 
remarks are worth study. 

Miss KNIGHT: I think evidence will be submitted to you that there 
are important shows, both in radio and television, where it is quite 
impossible for anyone who is not a left-winger to obtain a hearing and 
to work and to write . . . 

SENATOR WATKINS: You must have in mind something, and can you 
make a general reference to it without going into too much detail . . . 

43 



Miss KNIGHT: I can back it up with many illustrations, but I would 
have to say what I am reporting to you is a general impression of the 
industry and there is no way of my being able to come here and say to 
you that a certain director refused to buy shows from certain people 
who were right-wing because they were right-wing, and he can say 
he didn't buy them because they weren't good scripts, and there is no 
possible proof. 

SENATOR WATKINS: That is the thing we are up against, you see ... 
But we must have something more than just a lot of conclusions . . . 
Miss KNIGHT: What I can say to you is this, that in the industry, it is 
generally conceded that there are certain shows on which only extreme 
left-wing writers can work. 
SENATOR WATKINS: Can you name those shows? 

Miss Knight went on to name several shows, and even one net- 
work, which she alleged had at one time or another discriminated 
against anti-Communists. In this part of her testimony, however, 
she indicated that she was talking about the employability of mem- 
bers of "We, the Undersigned," the right-wing caucus in the 
Writers Guild. 

Miss Knight's testimony is quoted mainly to establish the diffi- 
culty which any investigator encounters in trying to find "concrete 
instances" of the blacklisting of anti-Communists. In general, it is 
true that "there is no way of ... being able to ... say ... that a 
certain director refused to buy shows from certain people who were 
right-wing because they were right-wing, and he can say he didn't 
buy them because they weren't good scripts, and there is no possible 
proof." 

This analysis was recently corroborated by Paul Milton, a radio 
writer and board member of AWARE, Inc. Milton pointed out that 
there is no Red Channels in the case of blacklisting of anti-Com- 
munists, i.e., no fixed point of reference which can be used as a 
dividing line when considering the patterns of employment for 
anti-Communists. The writer referred to by Merlyn Pitzele, Morton 
Wishengrad, has made the same point. 

44 



At the very outset then, it must be understood that it is prac- 
tically impossible to find specific, incontrovertible evidence of the 
blacklisting of anti-Communists. This point is agreed upon by both 
liberal and right-wing anti-Communists. The non-employment of 
an anti-Communist may be due to factors other than his anti- 
communism. For example, one actor often cited as the victim of a 
Communist blacklist is also alleged to have become difficult to 
work with precisely because of his political activities. Another 
performer who is frequently cited as a victim was widely criticized 
for encouraging racial stereotypes. There were protests against this 
performer's appearances by a number of anti-bias groups. (Some 
of these groups of course may have had communistic ties.) 

There is no way to ascertain which factors were, or are, respon- 
sible for the "unemployability" of these two performers. In the 
case of alleged Communists and Communist sympathizers, how- 
ever, there are definite lists, definite dates, etc. to provide a point of 
reference. It would seem, then, that the charges made against 
Merle Miller were somewhat unjust. The discrimination against 
anti-Communists was of such an informal nature that it is prac- 
tically impossible to cite specific instances which would not be 
challenged by someone. 

It can be established beyond question, though, that there was 
never any network-wide or agency-wide blacklisting of anti-Com- 
munists, even during the period when Communists were presumably 
at the height of their power. Take, as an example, the television 
appearances of Vinton Hay worth in 1949-50. Hay worth is gener- 
ally accepted as a leading "anti-Communist" in the special sense in 
which that word is used by Counterattack, AWARE, Inc., etc. (The 
source of this information is the Ross Reports, a listing of talent 
employed in television from 1949 to the present.) 

On January 21, 1950, Hayworth appeared on "Hollywood Screen 
Test," an ABC show. Interestingly enough, this same program 
subsequently employed Selena Royle (on February 4, 1950) and 

45 



Mady Christians (February 11, 1950), both of whom are listed in 
Red Channels. On March 20, 1950, Hay worth appeared on "Lights 
Out," an NBC show, and on March 27, on "Silver Theatre," a 
CBS show. In the Ross Reports' listings of employment from Sep- 
tember, 1949 to April, 1950 (Ross Reports, May 7, 1950), Hay- 
worth is one of the actors with the most frequent listings. In addi- 
tion to the shows reported above, he appeared in "Lights Out" 
(twice), the "Kraft Theatre," the "Philco Theatre," the "Silver 
Theatre," "The Clock," the "Chevrolet Tele-Theatre," all between 
the fall of 1949 and the summer of 1950. 

When dealing with this period, it is interesting to note how politi- 
cal lines cross and re-cross on various shows. Thus, Hayworth, 
Mady Christians and Selena Royle were used by the same producer. 
Conrad Nagel, a veteran anti-Communist, appeared on "The Silver 
Theatre," but so did Marsha Hunt (who was named in Red Chan- 
nels and was later blacklisted) . 

It has been said that the Communists let certain anti-Communists 
work as a "fig-leaf" to hide their activities. But it seems unlikely 
that this explains Hayworth's pattern. Hayworth has long been one 
of the most articulate spokesmen for a right-wing anti-Communist 
point of view in the industry. The fact that he was constantly hired 
at a time when the Communists were riding high would seem to 
establish beyond question that no industry-wide, network-wide, or 
agency-wide blacklisting of anti-Communists was then in existence. 

To continue with Hayworth. It may well be true that he has lost 
some employment in recent years. But in a sense this is a case of the 
engineer's being hoist on his own petard. Hayworth's activities 
within AWARE, Inc. have now made him a "controversial person- 
ality." More than one anti-Communist producer has said that he 
would not hire him because of this fact. They feel that Hayworth's 
presence within a cast would cause trouble, be divisive, etc. 

It seems possible to conclude, therefore, that the "blacklisting 
of anti-Communists" did not proceed on any organized and institu- 

46 



tional basis. There was no Red Channels, no industry-wide deci- 
sions, no open agitation for screening, no silent acceptance. It was 
largely a back-scratching operation. This is in no way to imply 
that there has been no discrimination against right-wing anti- 
Communists. 

In discovering individual patterns of the refusal to hire anti- 
Communists, or at least anti-Communists of the right-wing persua- 
sion, one is confronted with an extremely complicated, if not con- 
tradictory, situation. In her testimony, for example, Ruth Adams 
Knight charged that "Studio One" would have "a possible one per- 
son from a group like 'We the Undersigned' and almost everyone 
else on the other side." 

A check of the writers used on "Studio One" in the months im- 
mediately before Ruth Adams Knight testified (April 28, 1951) is 
revealing. There was, indeed, one writer, Irve Tunick, who was a 
member of "We the Undersigned." In February, the show used 
Lois Jacoby, a writer who was later to follow Tunick out of Tele- 
vision Authority when a West Coast functionary of that organization 
invoked the Fifth Amendment. The remaining writers (from Janu- 
ary 1 to March 26) are not well known as supporters of any left- 
wing faction. Indeed, the writer (and producer) whose work was 
most consistently used on the show, Worthington Miner, had a repu- 
tation for staying out of union disputes, industry politics, etc. On 
January 16, 1950, "Studio One" used Butterfly McQueen, an ac- 
tress often cited as the victim of an anti-Communist blacklist. 

Thus, one of Ruth Adams Knight's specific cases would seem to 
be questionable. 

On the other hand, there are shows where the employment 
record indicates a constant use of people associated with the left 
wing. In 1950-51, "Danger" used performers like Lee Grant, 
Morris Carnovsky, Alan Manson, Lou Polan, John Randolph, Elliot 
Sullivan and others who have been accused of being antagonistic to 
the right wing, as well as writer Peter Lyon. Other shows during 

47 



the same period used such people with suspicious frequency, e.g., 
"Suspense," "Comedy Theater." It is also true that the casting lists 
of a show like "Danger" rarely reveal the names of persons who 
have been members of the right-wing anti-Communist groups. 

A study of casting lists, therefore, bears out the oft-repeated 
charge that anti-Communists had difficulties in certain quarters. 
The important thing distinguishing the left-wing blacklisting oper- 
ation from the industry-wide steps taken later, is that the former 
was sporadic, informal and unorganized. 



48 



Blacklisting: An Institution 



ONCE BLACKLISTING WAS INSTITUTIONALIZED, it expanded. This 
was an almost inevitable development. A highly placed executive 
at one of the largest Madison Avenue agencies a man charged 
with screening the agency's employees said not long ago that as 
soon as the principle was established that performers and writers 
should be checked for past political associations, the doors were 
thrown wide open. Blacklisting soon went far beyond the names in 
Red Channels. For if that book was accepted as a reliable source, 
there was no reason why Counterattack itself, the American Le- 
gion's Firing Line, the "listing" publications of Syracuse Post #41 
of the Legion, and every other list, should not win acceptance. 
This was made all the more complicated by the structure of the 
radio-tv industry. In Hollywood, most hiring is concentrated in five 
or six big studios. But in radio-tv, advertising agencies, networks, 
program packagers and sponsors all have a voice in deciding who 
is to be used. The result is a multiplicity of lists and procedures, 
different policies on different networks, the creation of a secret and 
labyrinthine world of political screening. Thus it has often hap- 
pened that a television personality might be acceptable to agency 
and network, but not to this or that sponsor. Such a one, in the 
jargon that has grown up in the industry, is "greylisted." The "grey- 
listed" of course are blacklisted, but not completely for every 
program on every network. Few persons are thoroughly blacklisted 
in this sense. 

49 



All this began with Red Channels. When that book appeared 
in 1950, columnist Ed Sullivan wrote: 

With television going into its third big year, come this Fall, the 
entire industry is becoming increasingly aware of the necessity to plug 
all Commie propaganda loopholes. Network and station heads, with 
a tremendous financial stake, want no part of Commies or pinkos. 
Sponsors, sensitive in the extreme to blacklisting, want no part of 
Commies or their sympathizers. Advertising agencies, held responsible 
by sponsors for correct exercise of discretion in programming, want no 
controversy of any kind. For that reason, "Red Channels" listing of 
performers who, innocently or maliciously, are affiliated with Commie- 
front organizations will be a reference book in preparing any program. 

Sullivan was wrong in predicting that the use of Red Channels 
would be general by the fall of 1950, but his over-all analysis was 
quite correct, especially in the motives he assigned to the industry, 
and his date for the complete triumph of political screening was 
only a year off. By the fall of 1951, almost every word hi the 
column had come true. 

In May, 1954, Charles E. Martin, a radio-television producer 
and director, appeared before Judge Irving Saypol's court as a 
witness for the plaintiff in a suit brought by actor Joe Julian, a Red 
Channels listee, against the American Business Consultants, pub- 
lishers of the book. 

Martin testified under oath about political screening in the indus- 
try. At the very outset, he was asked by Arthur Garfield Hays, 
Julian's lawyer: "Did you ever refuse to give Joe Julian a job as an 
actor on any of your shows for the sole reason that his name ap- 
peared in Red Channels?" Martin answered, "I did refuse to give 
Mr. Julian employment on our shows because his name was in 
Red Channels." 

Later, Judge Saypol asked Martin: ". . . do you know that he 
[Julian] is sympathetic to the cause of communism?" The producer 
answered, "Not at all, not that I know of." Saypol continued: "Well 
now, this Red Channels which seems to be the basis for your label- 

50 



ing him, says . . . that 'In screening personnel every safeguard 
must be taken to protect innocents and genuine liberals from being 
unjustly labeled.' Now is it your testimony that on the basis of his 
inclusion hi the way in which it has been listed that you have under- 
taken to label him as a Red, meaning Communist?" 

Martin's answer went to the heart of the problem. "Well, I cer- 
tainly do not mean to imply that I am accusing Mr. Julian of being 
a Communist. But I maintain that everybody in the book has a 
label attached to him, and that we our clients we are not inter- 
ested in using the people who are hi the book." 

Judge Saypol continued to probe. Why didn't Martin follow the 
warning in Red Channels that "every safeguard must be taken to 
protect innocents and genuine liberals from being unjustly labeled"? 
This was particularly relevant because witnesses had already estab- 
lished that Julian had appeared hi various anti-Communist shows. 
Martin attempted to explain that he was acting under orders, but 
this part of his testimony was ruled inadmissible on the grounds that 
it involved hearsay. Nevertheless, his statements made it quite 
clear that he had adopted a policy of not using, or of exercising 
care in using, anyone named in Red Channels. Later, this was to 
apply to anyone "listed" in a variety of publications. 

In his subsequent testimony, Martin reinforced this general im- 
pression. He told the court that "he [Julian] is in Red Channels; 
he has a Red label." Judge Saypol asked, "Nothing else is respon- 
sible for that label, as far as you are concerned, except the fact of 
his inclusion in this publication?" and Martin told the judge that 
he was right. 

Finally, the nub of the difficulty was reached hi a colloquy be- 
tween one of the American Business Consultants' lawyers and 
Martin. "In other words, then, you do not agree with the statement 
hi Red Channels, do you, that 'In screening personnel great care 
should be taken that an injustice be not done to innocents and genu- 
ine liberals'?" Martin answered, "I certainly do agree with the state- 

51 



ment in the book, but how can we apply this, this theory? It's im- 
practicable. Because, I am not a court of law. We therefore take 
the policy of quarantining a ship; it's preventive medicine. We 
quarantine everybody in the book. We cannot take any chances." 

Martin then extended his answer to "radio actors and actresses 
and television actors and actresses who have been and who are 
known to have been associated with Communist fronts." Here, the 
policy of quarantine was extended beyond the bounds of Red 
Channels and applied to anyone who had been cited as having a list 
of associations with alleged Communist fronts. 

Martin was accurately describing the policy of the entire industry. 

This same point of view was stated by another industry spokes- 
man, an attorney for one of the large packagers, in a letter written 
to a talent union official. First the lawyer differentiated between 
the meanings of the word "blacklist," maintaining that the term 
properly applied to a conspiracy in restraint of employment and 
that his client's practice simply amounted to an exercise of volition 
in hiring. But in the next paragraph he admitted that his client, 
because of the pressure of sponsors and advertising agencies, would 
not hire any "controversial" person. Then he made an unusually 
frank statement about the criteria employed by the industry. 

He began by stating that ideology was not involved in hiring or 
firing. Guilt or innocence of the charges against an actor was simply 
not relevant. The only question was whether or not the person 
would be acceptable to the community. The determination of guilt 
or innocence, he maintained, would require a long trial in a court 
of law. The program packager could only concern himself with 
trying to anticipate public reaction. Therefore, the packager was 
not interested in discovering whether or not a man was actually a 
member of the organizations listed after his name, or whether par- 
ticipation in those organizations indicated he was a Communist or 
sympathetic to communism. It was enough that the charges had 
been made. 

52 



This candid statement of policy cannot be attributed to the whole 
industry. Many of the sponsors involved were concerned with es- 
tablishing innocence or guilt. Their refusal to use a performer was 
sincerely based on repugnance to communism or Communists. But 
whatever the theoretical explanation, the lawyer's letter accurately 
described the operating practice of the industry. The employment 
criteria which developed out of Red Channels and similar listings 
were based on anticipating public reaction. And this is what hung 
heavy on the consciences of people in the industry. Opposed as 
they were to blacklisting, they were now required to use it against 
individuals they knew to be innocent of Communist sympathies. 

The disclaimer in Red Channels calling for "safeguards" was 
fairly meaningless. When political screening becomes secret, ex- 
cesses are built into the system; they are not merely the result of 
a faulty exercise of judgment on the part of those engaged in 
screening. 

If screening (or blacklisting) had been confined to the names in 
Red Channels, it would have created a problem of considerable 
though manageable proportions. But the accusations kept coming 
and the lists lengthened as time went on. New charges were made 
during 1950, '51 and '52. Dozens of performers not mentioned in 
Red Channels found that they were "in trouble." By 1952 most of 
the groups favoring blacklisting found that they had named just 
about everyone vulnerable to attack. Still the attacks never let up. 
As late as the spring of 1955 the J. Walter Thompson advertising 
agency was harassed because of certain performers it had used on 
its dramatic shows during the winter tv season. 

The groups who make these continuing charges are almost always 
aligned with the extreme right wing of American politics. Their 
techniques are essentially the same as those employed in Red Chan- 
nelspeople are "listed," with the organizations they allegedly 
joined, and some "citation" is given to show that these organizations 

53 



are, or at least were, tied in with communism. The "citations" are 
often the findings of a legislative committee. But sometimes the 
authority cited is the same as that making the accusation thus 
Red Channels cited Counterattack and Counterattack cites Red 
Channels. Again, American Legion "lists" cite Counterattack as 
an authority; Counterattack's Red Channels returns the compliment 
by citing Legion publications. 

A fairly typical example of the accusations these groups make 
can be found hi a letter of the Veterans Action Committee of Syra- 
cuse Super Markets. This group works closely with Syracuse Post 
#41 of the American Legion and with Laurence A. Johnson, a 
Syracuse supermarket owner who has been extremely active in pro- 
moting political screening in the industry. The threat made in the 
letter actually received its force from Johnson's control of several 
supermarkets in Syracuse. The letter was addressed to Leonard A. 
Block of the Block Drug Company, makers of Amm-i-dent. 

DEAR SIR: 

Is the [actor's name] who appeared on your "Danger" program 
last night the Communist Fronter [actor's name] who appeared on the 
Civil Rights Congress Show? See the attached photostat of the Com- 
munist Paper, Daily Worker . . . For your information Civil Rights 
Congress was cited as subversive and Communist by Attorney General 
Tom Clark, letters to Loyalty Review Board, released December 4, 
1947, and September 21, 1948, according to Guide to Subversive 
Organizations and Publications, 82nd Congress, May 14, 1951. 

Is the [actress' name] who also appeared on the same show the 
same [actress' name] who was mentioned in ... Counterattack? We 
quote from Counterattack: 

"Communists Have Created A 'Living Memorial' For J. Edward 
Bromberg. About 1500 people were jammed in a hall in the Hotel 
Diplomat (N.Y. City) on night of Dec. 23. A thousand people 
were turned away for lack of space . . . Other speakers at this 
obviously Communist-inspired tribute to J. Edward Bromberg were: 
[Actress' name] who is starred in current Paramount film [film's 
name] . . . Miss [actress' name] has front record and last year was 

54 



featured in the Broadway flop . . . This was a Communist propa- 
ganda play written by [writer's name], an identified CP member. 
In spite of efforts of CP and its supporters to make a hit of this 
play, it failed miserably." 

If you plan to continue the use of Communist Front talent wouldn't 
it be a good idea if you were to send a representative from the Block 
Drug Company or Cecil & Presberey, Advertising Agency, since both 
companies are aware the Communist Fronters are allowed in Amm-i- 
dent advertising. Perhaps we could work out a questionnaire to be 
given to the people who buy from our cosmetic displays. A ques- 
tionnaire could be drafted reading, for instance, as follows: 

Do You Want Any Part of Your Purchase Price of Amm-i-dent to 
be Used to Hire Communist Fronters? 

YES Q No Q 

Indicate your choice by X in the appropriate box. 
We are sending this letter to you by registered mail because our 
earlier correspondence to you on May 28th evidently went astray since 
no answer has been forthcoming. 

Very truly yours, 

VETERANS ACTION COMMITTEE 

OF 
SYRACUSE SUPER MARKETS 

Pressure similar to this came from a number of sources and had 
the effect of extending blacklisting. In 1951, the National Ameri- 
canism Commission Sub-Committee on Subversive Activities of the 
American Legion published a Summary of Trends and Develop- 
ments Exposing the Communist Conspiracy. The conclusion of the 
document clearly referred to the situation in radio and television: 

Communism cannot be defeated by a lot of words and "pussy- 
footing." It must be hit hard and often wherever and whenever it 
exists. Feelings cannot be spared. If, in the course of battle, anyone is 
unjustly hurt by unknowingly lending their name and financial aid to 
an organization or cause that is subversive, it is very simple to with- 
draw that support and to repudiate the organization. 

As blacklisting developed, however, this "repudiation" was to 
become quite complicated. 

55 



In an industry as sensitive to public opinion as radio-tv, it was 
inevitable that charges of disloyalty would be effective, especially 
when they were coupled with the threat of boycott. In the Novem- 
ber, 1952, issue of Facts About Blacklist, a newsletter published 
by a group of blacklisted writers, a letter from an Assistant Vice- 
President of the Borden milk company was quoted in full. It was 
written to Laurence A. Johnson, the Syracuse supermarket owner: 

DEAR LARRY: 

I want to tell you again how grateful I am for the time and help you 
gave me on Tuesday. It is no exaggeration to say that my eyes have 
been opened as a result of your cooperation. The same goes for Francis 
Neuser and his group [Veterans Action Committee]. He mentioned 
the fact that they are unpopular, but I know he isn't right. No one 
could meet them without being impressed by the honesty and zeal with 
which they are pursuing this fine course, and with their obvious deter- 
mination to be fair. 

Sincerely yours, 
/s/ STUART PEABODY 

Asst. Vice Pres. 

Within a relatively short time, Johnson, and others engaged in 
the same cause, had a number of such letters to testify to their suc- 
cess. Johnson was particularly effective. He used the technique of 
wiring or phoning executives and members of the board of directors 
of companies which sponsored programs on which "controversial" 
talent had been used. (In many cases of course these people were 
"controversial" because Johnson and his friends, with their accusa- 
tions, made them so.) As a result, the pressure came from the top 
down and hit the agencies and packagers with considerable force. 
Only a few companies were willing to risk a questionnaire like the 
one suggested by the Veterans Action Committee of Syracuse Super 
Markets. 

Although many sponsors are sincerely motivated by opposition 
to communism, the day-to-day working principle of political screen- 
ing is based on anticipating public reaction. The controlling ques- 

56 



tion in "clearance," then, as far as the industry is concerned, is not 
the establishing of innocence so much as the furnishing of proof 
that the person involved has made his peace with the pressure 
groups which threaten to stir up protests. 

The case of one radio-tv writer shows the effects the system has 
had. When Red Channels appeared in 1950, his name was among 
those listed. Almost immediately he was informed by an agency 
which had been buying his scripts that it was changing its policy, 
would use only a limited number of writers in the future and no 
longer needed his services. He continued to get some assignments 
in radio and television after this, but more and more he found it 
necessary to go outside the industry for work. 

When the McCarran Committee report came out, his name ap- 
peared again and he was dropped from the one show he was writing 
for at that time. After this he did some work for radio but he 
could no longer use his own name. All regular commercial assign- 
ments stopped and he was confined to staff work and anonymous 
writing. However, even his income from the anonymous shows was 
affected by publication of the McCarran report. By 1954, his 
earnings from the ghost writing amounted to $2,000, a tremendous 
drop from his pie-Red Channels income. 

This writer's case is typical of the experience of those who did 
not attempt to "clear" themselves. They were dismissed from cer- 
tain shows almost immediately after Red Channels appeared. But 
some work was available throughout 1950 and even into '51. By 
that time, however, the screening machinery had begun to work 
efficiently and the only employment open to them was writing under 
a pen name or without credit. By 1954 even this was dangerous. 
There were people inside the industry who favored political screen- 
ing and watched the comings and goings of blacklisted writers. It 
became difficult to keep "listed" persons on the payroll, even though 
their work was never credited on the air. 

An actor's story follows similar lines. Before Red Channels, he 

57 



had been blasted in Counterattack. His employers had showed some 
concern but had not barred him from working. Even after Red 
Channels, the actor managed to stay employed for over a year. Then 
he could find no work. No one claimed it was because of his Red 
Channels listing, though the actor was well aware that was it. The 
policy of firing someone on grounds other than the political accusa- 
tions made against him became routine once blacklisting was ac- 
cepted as a regular operation. The industry is always concerned 
over the possibility of law suits based on the charge of conspiracy; 
therefore the "listings" in Red Channels, Counterattack or the news- 
letters of the American Legion are never given as a reason for the 
firing. And in conversations, industry representatives are ever care- 
ful to indicate that they do not confer with each other about their 
policy with regard to specific people. The fact remains however 
that the "other reasons" for not hiring always develop immediately 
after a political attack; if the person attacked succeeds in "clear- 
ing" himself with the right people, the "other reasons" usually 
disappear. 

Blacklisting has always been uneven. The industry is united on 
following a screening policy but standards vary. This is evident 
in the fact that the actor just mentioned worked on shows which 
went out over the very network that let him go. But in his case the 
situation did not persist for long. In 1952 he was considered for 
a part but before the show went on the air was told he would not be 
needed. After that he found work on another network. Then 
Counterattack hit him again and he was out of work once more. 
After 1953 he could find no work and has been excluded from the 
industry ever since. 

The actor's experience suggests another aspect of blacklisting. 
Different networks have different policies. So have sponsors and 
agencies. As a result, an actor might be persona non grata in one 
place and welcome in another. 

58 



The unevenness has led to mistakes. In 1950, in one of the 
earliest, pre-Red Channels cases, Ed Sullivan had the dancer Paul 
Draper on his show. Draper was already a controversial figure 
as a result of the highly publicized law suit which he and Larry 
Adler brought against Mrs. McCullough. The day after Draper 
appeared in Sullivan's show, the New York Journal- American ran a 
banner head: "Paul Draper in TV Show Draws Floods of Protests." 
The next day, the newspaper reported that the New York State 
Commanders of the Catholic War Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars, the New York State Adjutant of the American Legion, and 
the Queens County Commander of the Catholic War Veterans had 
protested. Shortly afterwards, Sullivan made a public apology. 

A fairly prominent movie and stage actor was listed in Red Chan- 
nels. At the time, he was out of the country and did not learn the 
fact until he returned. He was charged among other things with 
having been a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the Com- 
munist military organization which fought for the Loyalists in the 
Spanish Civil War. The source for the charge was a listing in 
"Appendix IX." Later, this actor was to prove that "Appendix IX" 
was wrong. He accounted for all his movements throughout the 
entire period of the Spanish Civil War and proved conclusively that 
he could not have served with the Brigade. 

It took four years before he could establish this fact to the 
satisfaction of the radio and television industry. After the listing 
in 1950, he was able to work on television. But by 1951, his work 
on television was cut off. At this time he received many calls asking 
if he were available, but inevitably someone would phone back to 
tell him it had been decided he was not "right" for the part. After 
a while, he realized he had been blacklisted. At the urging of his 
friends, he decided to try to "clear" himself. In the long process of 
his "clearance," he met with some of the important figures in the 
field. 

59 



In 1952, while the actor was trying to "clear" himself, the Ameri- 
can Legion announced it was going to picket a play in which he was 
appearing. He protested, citing his proof that he had never been 
a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. But this had no im- 
mediate effect. Some time after this, the actor received a letter of 
introduction to a leading Legion official. Influential people also 
wrote to the Legion indicating their belief that the actor was not a 
Communist and never had been. Eventually, he succeeded in con- 
vincing the Legion he was innocent of the charges made against 
him. 

In late 1952, the actor was put in touch with George Sokolsky. 
The actor is convinced that Sokolsky's role in this case, and in 
others, was based on honest concern. The columnist was con- 
vinced the charges would not stand up. As a result of their con- 
versation, Sokolsky wrote a letter stating he felt the evidence against 
the actor was weak. In this letter, the columnist repeated that he, 
Sokolsky, could not "clear" anyone, people had to clear themselves. 

The actor also met with Jack Wren, "security officer" at the 
Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn advertising agency. It was 
Wren who advised an affidavit accounting for all his movements 
during the period of the Spanish Civil War. This step was neces- 
sary, for the actor had to be "defensible" should protests come in 
as a result of the original Red Channels listing. Once convinced 
the actor had been wronged, Wren helped him get back to work, 
writing letters for him, interceding in his behalf, and in general 
attempting to establish his "employ ability." But Wren felt it was 
necessary to lay a careful groundwork of refutation before the actor 
could actually be used on any program. 

In 1953, the actor got in touch with the House Committee on 
Un-American Activities in order to clear up the original inaccurate 
listing in "Appendix IX." His letter was acknowledged by Repre- 
sentative Harold Velde, then chairman of the Committee, with a 
note assuring him the statement would be filed in the records of 

60 



the Committee. But he did not succeed in getting any definite state- 
ment from Velde or the Committee pointing out that the listing had 
been in error. Throughout the "clearance" procedure, this fact was 
to remain a block to his being reemployed. 

By the end of 1953, the actor found he was still "unemployable," 
even though various highly placed people in radio, television and 
Hollywood had absolved him of any sympathy for the Communist 
Party. At this time, he was able to convince Roy Brewer, the Holly- 
wood labor leader and key figure hi the Motion Picture Alliance for 
the Preservation of American Ideals, of the soundness of his case. 
Brewer wrote a letter indicating he was satisfied the performer was 
not pro-Communist. The actor used the letter in an attempt to get 
movie work but was told that the part he sought had already been 
filled. (The reason given was probably true; a letter from Brewer 
at that time was enough to clear performers in Hollywood.) 

Finally, early in 1954, the actor was assigned to a television 
show. Almost immediately, he was under attack from Syracuse. 
The actor wrote a letter to the head of the Legion group in Syracuse, 
telling him of the inaccuracy of the "Appendix IX" citation and 
mentioning a highly placed Legionnaire who was convinced he was 
innocent of pro-Communist sympathies. The letter went un- 
answered. But when the actor began to appear regularly on various 
television shows there were no further protests. 

By 1955, the actor had almost regained the professional status 
he held prior to Red Channels. The charges against him had been 
rebutted. Powerful "anti-Communists" had written letters for him. 
He had proved he was "defensible." As a result, he resumed normal 
employment. Now that it is all over, he is grateful to Sokolsky, 
Wren and Brewer for the help they gave him. 

The actor's experience illustrates the "clearance" mechanism 
which developed after blacklisting became institutionalized. To be- 
gin with, it shows that the rhetorical claim that a performer must 
"clear himself" is something less than a description of the reality. 

61 



Although he must "clear himself," it is also necessary for him to 
convince various key people that his "clearance" is legitimate. By 
and large, the persons this actor encountered are the ones who deal 
with clearances: George Sokolsky, Jack Wren of BBD&O, the top 
security officers at CBS, various American Legion figures. If this 
group is convinced of a man's sincerity or, in the case of the execu- 
tives, "defensibility," he can work. 

But the process can be quite lengthy four years in the case of 
this particular actor. The actor believes that had he been a more 
important star, his "clearance" would not have taken so long. A 
public-relations staff might have been engaged to make him "de- 
fensible." As it was, the procedure was a long and arduous one and 
his career was gravely affected. 

It is equally important to realize that, from this actor's point of 
view, the various "clearance" men, like Sokolsky and Wren, were 
actually trying to help him. He was not asked for money. Once 
these men were convinced he had been unjustly "listed," they went 
to some trouble to put him back to work. For many, though, the 
politics of those with whom a blacklistee must deal remain a 
stumbling block. The informal "clearance" board is largely right- 
wing in its political orientation. If a performer has a strong preju- 
dice against associating with Hearst columnists or American Legion 
officials, or rejects their definition of "effective anti-communism," 
he will find it difficult if not impossible to "clear himself." 

In 1951, the program directors at CBS became aware of the 
problem. Actors they had previously used with great success would 
be turned down even when they were obviously suitable for the 
part. Soon an internal communications system was developed to 
head off embarrassing incidents. Before this, actors would some- 
times be called, or even sign a contract, then it would be found they 
could not be used because of some "listing" or past political 
association. By 1952, the CBS procedure was regularized. 

62 



Producers submitted the names of writers they wanted to use. 
These were then submitted to the story department. Copies of 
the memo also went to the executives charged at that time with 
carrying out the network's screening policy William Dozier (who 
is generally credited with having initiated this procedure), Vice- 
President Daniel O'Shea, or his assistant Alfred Berry. The final 
word came from O'Shea or Berry. Written rejections of proposed 
writers were never made. The producers would receive a phone 
call and be told, "Sorry, we can't clear." When a producer asked 
why a certain person had been rejected, he was told that it was 
none of his business. 

In one case, a director was signed for a show and actually used. 
Subsequently, there were protests from Laurence Johnson in Syra- 
cuse. Johnson had been told by Harvey Matusow that the director 
was a Communist. Matusow claimed he had seen him at Party 
meetings. Meetings were arranged between the sponsor, some 
prominent "anti-Communists," including Sokolsky and Victor 
Riesel of the Hearst papers, Matusow and the director in question. 
As soon as he met the director face to face, Matusow admitted he 
had named the wrong man. Nevertheless, it was impossible to 
obtain a clear-cut retraction from those who published the charge. 

A show became "tough" after a number of "mistakes" were made 
and protests mounted. Political screening was more careful then, 
and even those who could work on other shows for the same net- 
work could not be used. "Danger" fell into this category, so did 
"Justice." In the case of "Danger," a threat from the Veterans 
Action Committee of Syracuse had been enough to convince every- 
one that special precautions were necessary. 

However, even when blacklisting is functioning well, a few peo- 
ple still manage to work under assumed names. This is generally 
only possible for writers, or for actors working on radio, since a 
television appearance can easily be noted by someone in the audi- 
ence. Still, one blacklisted actress managed to work on television 

63 



as the hands in a soap commercial until she was recognized enter- 
ing the studio. But her case was an exception. Most blackmarket 
work is done by writers. 

In the early days of blacklisting, it was possible for a writer to 
submit scripts under an assumed name. After a while, the system 
was tightened up. It is now necessary for a writer to have a 
"front" in order to continue working. The "front" must be a person 
who can convincingly carry off the role of a writer. He attends all 
conferences on the script which he is supposed to have written. 
He has to be coached on how to react to suggestions, how to take 
notes on the changes which the producer or director requests, etc. 
If the "front" has some acting experience, so much the better. 

Once the "front" is successful, a whole series of problems arises. 
He receives public credit for shows written by another man. His 
family and friends assume he is making a great deal of money. His 
employer may question him about working on company time. When 
the next deal comes up, the "front" often demands that his cut of 
the check be raised to a point commensurate with his status as a 
big-name television writer. Ego problems develop. The "front" 
begins to act like a first-rate writing talent and resents the actual 
writer. 

In one case now an industry legend a "front" became so 
successful he was hired as a script editor for some television shows. 
Once in this position, he refused to use the work of the blacklisted 
writers who had made his reputation, on the grounds that it would 
endanger his position. 

Another "front" received an offer to go to Hollywood to write 
movies. A third became infuriated when his father called him and 
said: "I saw your show last night. I'm glad to see that you're finally 
becoming a writer after all these years of trying." As a result of the 
emotional crisis engendered by this phone call, the "front" broke 
off relations with the blacklisted writer. 

64 



Throughout the radio-tv industry, the fact that someone is "in 
trouble" (the industry's euphemism for being blacklisted) has often 
meant that high-priced talent could be bought at cut-rate prices. 
The larger talent agencies refuse to handle blacklisted writers who 
work through "fronts," but the smaller companies saw an oppor- 
tunity to make a killing and have gone along. When this happens, 
a part of the check for the show goes to the agency and if the 
packager is aware of the arrangement, he too may demand a 
kickback. 

In one case, a "front" got so interested in improving his position 
he accepted almost any terms from producers. Instead of demand- 
ing reasonable working conditions (for example with regard to 
deadlines) he began to agree to all offers. The pressure on the 
blacklisted writer he was "fronting" for became so great that the 
writer eventually had to break off the relationship. In still another 
case, a producer offered to get a better "front" for a writer. The 
man he suggested had been in the business long enough to build up 
a personal reputation and his scripts were worth more. And finally, 
there was a case in which the "front" himself became blacklisted 
after he had achieved a certain ersatz prominence. 

Because of all the problems involved in blackmarketing, "fronts" 
do not last long. Perhaps the greatest single difficulty hi the rela- 
tionship is the ego problem. "Fronts" are often frustrated and 
unsuccessful writers themselves and the experience of receiving 
credit for brilliantly written shows creates problems for them. In 
a few cases, men have "fronted" on principle, as a means of oppos- 
ing blacklisting. But these instances are relatively rare. 

All these factors combine to make the blackmarket business an 
insignificant part of radio and television production. It is a method 
open only to the best of the blacklisted talent and is hazardous even 
for them. 

In one case, a blacklisted director was able to work. He would 
go to the studio early in the morning with the regular director, check 

65 



all the camera angles, suggest changes in the script and the way in 
which an actor should handle his lines. The whole operation was 
finished by eight o'clock. It finally broke down when someone in- 
side the industry became suspicious of the director who received 
credit and accused him of working with a blacklisted person. After 
this, collaboration between a blacklisted director and a regular 
director became more or less impossible. 

At times, radio-tv "security" standards seem to be relaxed some- 
what. People who have been "unemployable" find work without 
going through the formality of a "clearance." But then, some pres- 
sure group starts a protest and the hiring offices resume their cau- 
tion. Often, a step-by-step procedure is worked out to bring an 
actor back to "full employ ability." First there is an appearance on 
a show sponsored by an institutional advertiser which does not re- 
quire criteria as strict as those used by consumer-goods sponsors. 
If this appearance goes unnoticed, the actor may then attempt to 
find a spot on a more difficult show, citing his experience with the 
institutional advertiser to prove he is no longer "in trouble." If 
all goes well there, the word gets around that he can be generally 
used. 

In the winter of 1955, there were persistent rumors that things 
were letting up. Several actors and actresses who had not been used 
for some time suddenly found work. But any anticipation that 
blacklisting was coming to an end were premature. In April, 1955, 
the Veterans Action Committee of Syracuse Super Markets started 
to campaign against the Kraft Foods Company. The campaign 
began with a letter addressed "To All Food Retailers, Wholesalers 
and Patriotic Organizations," charging that the Kraft television show 
had used two Communist fronters, and that this was part of a con- 
tinuing policy of the company. 

The Syracuse attack included the same kind of threat that had 
been addressed to the Block Drug Company: 

66 



We invite you to follow the suggestion of John K. Dungey and 
join the American Legion in making such a test and take a poll of the 
customers as they buy Kraft products. For instance, a questionnaire 
could be drafted reading, "Do you want any part of your money spent 
for Kraft products, to help subsidize anyone who had directly or in- 
directly contributed in any way toward helping the Communist Con- 
spiracy in the United States? Indicate in the appropriate box YES or 
NO." 

As long as such pressure continues, there will probably be no 
letup in blacklisting. The industry set its fundamental policy after 
the Muir, Wicker and Loeb cases. It has, in effect, agreed to accept 
a basic limitation upon its right to hire. While this policy is accepted 
and the pressure continues, there is little chance that blacklisting 
can be brought to an end. 

The fact was reinforced when the House Committee on Un- 
American Activities visited New York in August, 1955. The Com- 
mittee conducted an investigation of Communist influence in the 
theatre. The impact of the hearings, though far less effective than 
any of the Hollywood probes, buttressed the idea that the enter- 
tainment industry is heavily infiltrated by Communists. 

This was the final outcome of the policy that had been adopted 
by the radio-tv industry in the turbulent early days of blacklisting. 
Blacklisting was institutionalized and the institution received power- 
ful support within and without the industry. Every major network 
had executives appointed to implement its screening policies. The 
most important agencies assigned top-level executives to see that no 
mistakes were made. There were professional consultants who for 
a fee supplied dossiers on prospective performers and writers. And 
all this machinery was working smoothly and largely behind closed 
doors. Arrangements were verbal; very little was written down. 
Great care was taken to avoid the charge of conspiracy. The in- 
dustry, rejecting the word "blacklist," retreated to high semantic 
grounds whenever the question came up. But no one denied that 
certain persons could not work until they were "cleared" and 

67 



that was what most people meant when they spoke of blacklisting. 

Most of the executives at the networks, agencies and packagers 
were deeply disturbed by the institution even while they were 
creating it. Joseph H. Ream, a former CBS executive and predeces- 
sor of Daniel O'Shea as "security officer" for that network, was a 
typical example. 

In 1950, CBS instituted a loyalty oath for all its employees. This 
took place at the point of transition from public to secret black- 
listing. The Council of the Authors League of America took a dim 
view of the network's new policy and wrote a letter of protest to 
Ream. Their exchange raised most of the relevant questions with 
regard to political screening. 

The Authors League Council wrote: 

Our opinion is that the only valid defense of American democracy 
will consist of a re-affirmation and a strengthening of its ideals and its 
established processes. If the kind of personal liberties which are defined 
in the first ten amendments of the Constitution are ever lost, the 
democracy we wish to defend will have been lost. We recognize that in 
times of stress in the past certain personal liberties have been curtailed. 
We feel that in the present crisis, the issue of individual civil liberties 
has become one of the central issues at conflict, and that no sacrifice in 
those liberties should be permitted without the most careful scrutiny. 

The letter then went on to consider the CBS loyalty oath and, 
by implication, the entire system of political screening. The Council 
wrote of the oath: 

It establishes the principle that a writer's employment may depend 
upon his politics. The Authors League has always taken the view that 
a writer's employment should depend upon his writings. We fully 
understand that under wartime conditions precautions have to be taken, 
especially in the field of communications, against subversion and sabo- 
tage, and that the move by CBS has been taken in the name of such 
precautions. Nevertheless, we deplore the principle that the hiring or 
firing of a writer should be decided by his politics, without recourse 
to the proper channels for security against subversion already estab- 
lished and now being extended by the United States Government. Your 

68 



technique goes outside and beyond those channels and arrogates to one 
corporation a type of function which has traditionally belonged to the 
Federal Government. Unless and until this power is delegated to cor- 
porations in a legal and orderly manner, it seems to us improper for a 
single corporation haphazardly to take it. 

Ream answered for CBS: "In the first place, employment will 
not depend on an individual's politics. We are not concerned with 
that, but with loyalty." This distinction was basic to the industry's 
case. It was founded on the notion that communism was totally a 
conspiracy and not "political" at all. From this, it deduced the 
right to handle Communists in certain ways which would not be 
allowable if only political beliefs were at issue. 

To the charge that the political screening system was a private 
court without competence or mandate, Ream replied: 

The answer lies in how intelligently and how fairly this program is 
administered, and this obviously cannot be proved or disproved in 
advance. Our record over the years in the field of controversial public 
issues involving public opinion should provide substantial assurance to 
you that fairness will be our touchstone. 

The same point came up hi another form. The Authors League 
had stated: 

The CBS questionnaire is more likely to condemn the loyal unjustly 
than to discover the disloyal. In days of hysteria like these, the mere 
hint that a man has ever had communistic connections may damage 
his earning power indefinitely. No safeguards against this happening 
to those who are loyal have been announced by CBS. A fundamental 
safeguard, it seems to us, would be a guarantee not to deprive a writer 
of his job on any ground except incompetence, without a hearing. 

Ream had replied: 

Next, we necessarily have to evaluate the reported subversive con- 
nections. I have indicated to our staff group that I am available to 
discuss with any employee any questions which he may have. Also, in 
cases where I may have questions, I intend to seek discussion with the 
employee concerned. 

69 



Here again, the main point of defense was the promise that the 
system would be engineered in a fair spirit and with honest ground 
rules. But this failed to take into account a tremendously impor- 
tant factor: the significance of the growth of the political screening 
system was a shift in responsibility. The networks, agencies and 
sponsors no longer trusted themselves to hire and fire. They turned 
over their authority to outsiders. They grumbled against these out- 
siders, they complained about them, they resented them, but they 
never failed to try to placate them. 

Clearly political screening became something it was never in- 
tended to be by those who began it. 



70 



Newsmen and Commentators 



THE FIRST RADIO NEWS ANALYSTS were foreign correspondents who 
experimented with telling what Hitler's rallies looked like and re- 
porting on what was being thought and said in Europe. As war 
loomed, their attempts to put the headlines in a political context 
won a tremendous response. News commentary as we know it to- 
day came into existence in September, 1938, at the time of the 
Czechoslovakian crisis. The man who more than any other was 
responsible for inventing it was H. V. Kaltenborn. Americans 
listened to Kaltenborn, to Edward R. Murrow and William L. 
Shirer, and these men became known by voice and mannerism as 
no reporters of the printed press had ever been known. They be- 
came public personalities.* 

The Columbia Broadcasting System has long led in the field of 
news commentary. This was due originally to the secondary posi- 
tion of that network. Before the war, CBS was overshadowed by 
NBC, the original radio network, and looked to fields left largely 
unexplored. Among these was news broadcasting. The chairman 
of the CBS board, William S. Paley, was interested in news broad- 
casting, and one of the network vice-presidents, Edward Klauber, 
was a former editor of The New York Times. They set up a news 
department which had policies comparable but still not identical 



* Of all radio-tv personalities, newsmen and commentators are in the best posi- 
tion to "propagandize." Comparatively few of these men have been burdened 
with the kind of charges found in Red Channels. But because of the special nature 
of their work, it was thought best to deal with them separately. 

71 



with those of the best newspapers. News was to be edited and 
presented by the network itself; sponsors could buy news programs 
but the broadcaster was to be a member of the CBS staff. Paley 
had the idea of following the news with an analysis of the news, 
which, like an editorial, would be clearly set off from the reports 
of what was happening. The analyses were also the product of 
the network staff and had specified limits. 

According to a 1939 policy statement written by Klauber: 

. . . What news analysts are entitled to do and should do is to 
elucidate and illuminate the news out of common knowledge, or special 
knowledge possessed by them or made available to them by this organi- 
zation through its news sources. They should point out the facts on 
both sides, show contradictions with the known record, and so on. 
They should bear in mind that in a democracy it is important that 
people not only should know but should understand, and it is the 
analyst's function to help the listener to understand, to weigh, and to 
judge, but not to do the judging for him. 

The network's distinguished news chief, the late Paul White, felt 
strongly about the distinction between the non-partisan analyst and 
the omniscient commentator. White was largely responsible for 
the character of the CBS operation. 

The CBS policy was later taken up by NBC. The American 
Broadcasting Company and the Mutual Broadcasting System have 
worked along different lines. Their commentators are either frankly 
partisan or hold to fairly well-defined viewpoints. ABC and MBS 
commentators can speak as they please. These networks try to see 
to it that the various major points of view are represented in their 
corps of commentators. Thus on these two networks men of such 
disparate outlook as Fulton Lewis and John W. Vandercook, or 
George Sokolsky and Elmer Davis, can be heard. There is a prob- 
lem here in that few Americans are sufficiently interested or 
durable to listen to the balanced total of a network's com- 
mentators; most tend to listen to the partisans who reinforce their 

72 



own convictions. But commentators of all major persuasions are 
there for those who wish to hear them. 

This method of handling the problem of partisanship supposedly 
imposes on the networks responsibility to carry a balance of com- 
mentators even if some are unsponsored. It does not obligate them 
to keep individuals on the air. And it does not solve the problem 
arising when a local station decides that it will carry only broad- 
casters of one persuasion. (Most of the commentators on Mutual 
and ABC are without national sponsorship. Local stations sell 
them to local sponsors, if they can, and insert their own commer- 
cial messages.) 

The CBS-NBC system of non-partisan analysts working as part 
of a network staff does prevent this kind of local partiality. The 
emphasis is substantially the same whether a local station carries 
only one, or the full schedule, of network analyses. 

The Communications Act of 1934 expressly states that "Nothing 
in this Act shall be understood or construed to give the Commis- 
sion the power of censorship over the radio communications or 
signals transmitted by any radio station . . ." However, in 1941, 
the Federal Communications Commission had before it the case of 
a broadcaster who had supported candidates for public office and 
advocated public causes, and the Commission, in its famous May- 
flower decision, ruled that "a truly free radio cannot be used to 
advocate the causes of the licensee ... it cannot be devoted to 
the support of principles he happens to regard most favorably. In 
brief, the broadcaster cannot be an advocate." 

In 1949 the Commission reviewed its policy on editorial opinion 
and stated that while the "individual licensees of radio stations have 
the responsibility for determining the specific program material 
to be broadcast over their stations," nevertheless "the basic policy 
of the Congress [is] that radio be maintained as a medium of free 
speech for the general public as a whole rather than as an outlet for 
the purely personal or private interests of the licensee. This requires 

73 



that licensees devote a reasonable percentage of their broadcasting 
time to the discussion of public issues of interest in the community 
served by their stations and that such programs be designed so that 
the public has a reasonable opportunity to hear different opposing 
positions . . . Such presentation may include the identified expres- 
sion of the licensee's personal viewpoint as part of the more general 
presentation of views or comments on the various issues ..." 

The parallel which industry spokesmen draw between the free- 
dom accorded newspapers and that which they believe broadcasting 
should have is marked by one particular flaw: in the present condi- 
tion of broadcasting, almost all individual stations have abdicated 
to the four national networks any responsibility they might have to 
initiate the discussion of international affairs. And this is true to a 
lesser degree in the discussion of national politics. To say that sta- 
tions should have a newspaper's freedom to editorialize on these 
issues means as things now stand that the four networks should 
editorialize. 

The first great controversies about broadcast opinion took place 
in the Thirties. There was the Father Coughlin affair: what had 
begun as religious broadcasts changed into highly controversial 
social and political speeches. Mutual requested the right to review 
the Coughlin speeches before broadcast and Father Coughlin re- 
fused, withdrew from Mutual and spoke over an ad hoc network. 
The priest was ultimately silenced by his ecclesiastical superiors. 

The Orson Welles Martian episode had nothing directly to do 
with opinion but vividly demonstrated to both the industry and the 
public the power of the broadcast word and so had a bearing on 
subsequent discussion of the responsible use of the air. There were 
arguments about whether Walter Winchell and Boake Carter 
popular, uninhibited and opinionated broadcasters were worthy 
of the public influence their network spots gave them. Gilbert 
Seldes wrote in The Big Audience: 

74 



Among the ifs of history, one might consider seriously what would 
have happened to Winchell and to America if he had been a reactionary 
and an isolationist from 1939 to Pearl Harbor if Pearl Harbor had 
come. It is imaginable that a clamor against lend-lease and for appeas- 
ing Japan might have brought a strong isolationist candidate into the 
field instead of Wendell Willkie. It is conceivable that a radio broad- 
caster with millions of believers, attracted to him originally because he 
was entertaining, might have thrown the balance toward such a candi- 
date. In the summer of 1941 a single vote in Congress prevented the 
disbanding of American military training; in the fall of that year one 
popular voice added to those already on the other side might have 
turned the trick. 

When war came, the American public was temporarily united on 
the great political issues. The focus of attention was on the war 
itself. Radio was performing brilliantly as a medium for straight 
news. Its speed and immediacy made it unquestionably the most 
important news medium for the public at large. The nation switched 
on the radio to hear its fate. 

In 1943 a skirmish over an issue of freedom of opinion cast 
shadows of what was to come. Cecil Brown, the newsman who had 
broadcast the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse, re- 
signed from CBS and charged he was being prevented from speak- 
ing his mind. CBS said that Brown had violated the restrictions it 
placed on the broadcasting of analysts' private opinions. At issue 
was a broadcast Brown had made in which he said, in effect, that 
the American people had lost interest in the war. Paul White, 
Brown's chief at CBS, criticized the broadcast as "out and out 
editorializing," and thus contrary to the network's policies. CBS 
came under the fire of the Association of Radio News Analysts, 
which charged it with gagging its analysts. John W. Vandercook, 
speaking for the Association, asked if the CBS policy did not put 
the judgment of public issues into the hands of "five of its execu- 
tives who control the news policies of the corporation." The net- 
work replied that what it was trying to do was keep all judgments 

75 



out of its analyses. White said that, ideally, "in the case of contro- 
versial issues, the audience should be left with no impression as to 
which side the analyst himself actually favors." 

Gilbert Seldes, who worked at CBS at the time and was involved 
in the controversy, says that the intention was rather to keep preju- 
dice out of the analyses. White felt very strongly about the impar- 
tiality principle; perhaps more strongly than the network chiefs. In 
any event, after White left CBS the emphasis on "neutrality" 
changed somewhat. 

With the end of the war came an inevitable drop in the popularity 
of news and commentary. And with the peace also came a splinter- 
ing in the unity of American public opinion. The Soviet Union had 
been highly praised during the war, American national policy had 
been one of collaboration with Russia, there was a considerable 
sympathy for the Russian people. All that changed quickly. In the 
final months of the war there was also a vigorous national debate 
over the future of Germany. The Morgenthau Plan, to take all 
heavy industry out of Germany and make of the Reich a state with 
an agricultural economy, was widely supported, as were proposals 
for the revision of Germany's borders beyond what had been set in 
the Versailles treaty. Then there was the question of Eastern Eu- 
rope, supposedly liberated by the Red Army, actually being at- 
tached by the Soviet Union. 

An early postwar instance of a commentator's running afoul of 
public controversy was centered on the German issue. In the last 
months of the war, Dorothy Thompson was conducting a radio news 
commentary for Mutual. In the spring of 1945 she wanted to go to 
Europe and arranged an amicable cancellation of her radio con- 
tract. The storm over the German issue broke soon after. Miss 
Thompson had already opposed the Morgenthau Plan, the revision 
of Germany's 1919 frontiers, the dismemberment of Germany and, 
later, other provisions in the Potsdam Agreement. She was severely 
criticized in the liberal press and her column was dropped by several 

76 



papers (by the New York Post after a front-page editorial denunci- 
ation of her views) . In addition to the attacks in the press, she suf- 
fered considerable word-of-mouth character assassination and im- 
pugnment of her motives. After she returned to the United States 
she was not asked to resume her broadcasts, and while she sus- 
pected that her controversial stand on the German question was a 
factor, she also felt that the public probably had enough of crisis 
over the air and that news comment would suffer a drop hi popu- 
larity. She did not attempt to get another program and has not 
broadcast regularly since that time.* 

Another postwar controversy involved commentator Upton 
Close. Close was ultra-conservative in his views and had been a 
forthright isolationist. After the war he made a celebrated attack 
on Bishop Bernard J. Sheil. The Bishop had aroused the antago- 
nism of many right-wingers, in and out of the Catholic Church, be- 
cause of his public statements on social and political questions. 
Close's attack on the prelate drew an equally celebrated and dra- 
matic reply from the Bishop himself, on time provided by the 
network. Open pressure from unions and left-wing and liberal 
organizations, "approaching a boycott" according to Gilbert Seldes, 
brought about Close's removal from Mutual. He turned to tran- 
scription but was unsuccessful and left the air. He now publishes 
a "nationalist" newsletter hi Florida. 

William L. Shirer, author of Berlin Diary, had been one of the 
first and most famous of radio news commentators. During and 
after the war he did a series of news commentaries from New York 
and Europe for CBS. In the spring of 1947 he resigned from the 
network after a dispute. Shirer felt that the situation which brought 
about his resignation was due in large part to the network's and 

* After Miss Thompson's column was dropped by the Post, a liberal radio com- 
mentator who was having somewhat similar difficulties with his network over other 
issues offered to join in a protest that her exclusion from the Post was a suppres- 
sion of free opinion. She replied that she wanted no protest; that the Post had no 
Constitutional obligation to renew her contract and print her column. 

77 



especially the sponsor's displeasure with his political liberalism. The 
network and sponsor denied this. At the time a CBS directive for- 
bade the expression of personal opinion by its commentators, but 
Shirer says it was not rigidly enforced. A few months later he began 
a series of broadcasts over Mutual. 

In 1954 Shirer published a novel which was taken by many to be 
an autobiographical account of the affair and lent itself to the in- 
terpretation that the network had dropped him because of the Com- 
munist issue. Shirer says that the novel was not an autobiographical 
account of his case and regrets it was so interpreted. His argument 
with CBS, he says, had nothing to do with blacklists or charges of 
pro-communism . 

Another commentator who left the air for some time after the 
war was John W. Vandercook. He resigned from NBC after a dis- 
pute with the network (not his sponsor), in which, he feels, the fact 
that he was a New Deal Democrat, while his superior in the news 
organization was a conservative, was a factor but not the only fac- 
tor. There was no question of blacklisting. 

Still another was Raymond Swing. Swing says that his leaving 
the air (ABC) at this time was a consequence of ill health and had 
nothing whatever to do with political issues. 

Johannes Steel was a left-wing commentator who had broadcast 
over Mutual during the war not as a member of the network's news 
staff but as an independent commentator on time purchased spe- 
cifically for him. After the war he temporarily went off the air and 
in early 1947 a dinner was held for him, organized by Dorothy 
Parker, from which grew the organization called The Voice of 
Freedom Committee. 

The Voice of Freedom Committee characterized as "censorship" 
the fact that Shirer, Robert St. John, Vandercook, Steel and others 
had left the air. The group organized a system of "monitors" who 
listened to specific programs and commentators and each week 
wrote to the program in criticism or praise. "In emergency cases," 

78 



one of its pamphlets said, "whole divisions of monitors are alerted 
and called into militant action by VOF and the offending station 
may be swamped with indignant letters, phone calls and telegrams." 
It claimed to have 3,000 such monitors. In cities outside New York 
its members would go to stations in delegations to protest "reaction- 
ary propaganda." 

In May of 1947 William Shirer, who had left CBS but had not 
begun broadcasting for Mutual, was asked to appear at a VOF 
meeting in New York to discuss the reason for his departure from 
CBS. He was told that Edward R. Murrow, representing CBS, and 
a Federal Communications Commissioner would appear to discuss 
the issues of the controversy. Murrow did not show up. The FCC 
commissioner, Clifford J. Durr, did appear. Shirer says that after 
attending this and one more Voice of Freedom affair, he came to 
feel that he was being exploited. The Committee's political sympa- 
thies were certainly not his own. Thereafter he avoided the group. 

When John W. Vandercook left NBC the Voice of Freedom 
Committee approached him in an effort to enlist him in their cam- 
paign. The commentator took an instant dislike to the political 
complexion of the Committee. "I had to beat them off with sticks," 
he said in recalling the incident. Vandercook told the group that 
he did not wish to pose as a martyr. "One of the divine rights of 
democracy is NBC's right to fire me," he said. 

The Voice of Freedom Committee made its special target Fulton 
Lewis, Jr., the Mutual network's scrappy right-wing commentator. 
Lewis replied with a bitter attack on the Committee. The Com- 
mittee without success tried to get equal time on Mutual to answer 
him. The Committee claimed that it was successful in getting one 
sponsor to drop Lewis. (Lewis says he has lost several sponsors as 
a result of liberal and left-wing pressure groups.) 

Lewis was not the only target of the Voice of Freedom. At the 
beginning of the Korean war the group attacked Eric Sevareid, 
Richard Harkness, Lowell Thomas, Gabriel Heatter, John Cameron 

79 



Swayze, Douglas Edwards, Richard Hottelet, CBS's correspondent 
in Germany (the Committee compared him with Goebbels), Ed- 
ward R. Murrow (whose remarks on the Korean war, according 
to the Committee, were "a mouldy dish of red-baiting rhetoric"), 
and a generous number of other commentators and reporters, both 
conservative and liberal. The Committee's position on the Korean 
affair was founded on the belief that North Korea had been attacked 
by South Korea. After 1950, the Voice of Freedom Committee 
faded away. 

Of the ten radio newsmen listed in Red Channels, only Robert 
St. John, William L. Shirer, and Howard K. Smith were network 
commentators of national reputation.* Alexander Kendrick was 
identified in the book as a writer and foreign correspondent and 
subsequently has become well known as a London correspon- 
dent for the Columbia Broadcasting System. The other radio news 
commentators listed by Red Channels were Arthur Gaeth, William 
S. Gailmor, Roderick B. Holmgren, Lisa Sergio, Johannes Steel 
and J. Raymond Walsh. 

Robert St. John has retired from broadcasting. He now lives in 
Europe. 

After leaving CBS in 1947, William Shirer broadcast for Mutual. 
When Red Channels was published in 1950 he was in Europe gath- 
ering material for a book. He recently stated: "Since Red Channels 
was published I have never been regularly employed by a major 
network. It was not a matter of low ratings, etc." One summer he 
broadcast for the short-lived Liberty Broadcasting System, a base- 
ball network which unsuccessfully tried to break into general pro- 
gramming. On a few occasions he has appeared on NBC's "Today" 
as a guest commentator. 

Shirer feels he has been the victim of blacklisting. He regards 

* Winston Burdett, CBS newsman who testified in the summer of 1955 that he 
had once served briefly as a Soviet agent, was not listed. 

80 



his three citations in Red Channels which did not accuse him of 
being a Communist or directly of being a fellow-traveler as arbi- 
trary and misleading. Any implication they made of sympathy for 
communism was directly contradictory to the views he had ex- 
pressed in his books and in hundreds of broadcasts. Shirer feels 
that, his own case aside, the executives of the major networks have 
abdicated their responsibilities hi this matter to persons outside the 
industry. "I think," he told a reporter not long ago, "that if the 
major networks had taken a firm stand in the beginning, excluding 
Communists and fascists from their staffs, but making a fair de- 
termination of individual cases, this thing would never have gotten 
off the ground. The network executives themselves are chiefly 
responsible." In recent years Shirer has devoted himself to free- 
lance writing and lecturing. 

Howard K. Smith, chief of the European news staff of the Colum- 
bia Broadcasting System, says of his listing in Red Channels: "I am 
happy to say that I have suffered very little or not at all. I have 
never seen the listing or what it said. It produced no effect on my 
relations with CBS, nor had any public reaction that I have heard 
of. I know that many people have suffered due to such attacks. 
But somehow I was not scathed." 

Alexander Kendrick made a similar statement: 

As I recall, the citations in themselves were accurate. They were, 
of course, made without any reference to any other activities or writing. 
I suppose I am one of the fortunate few who suffered no adverse effects 
as a result. The listing did not affect my relationship with CBS in any 
way. Indeed, after the listing, I became a staff correspondent although 
previously, when the black book came out, I had been only a local 
correspondent in Vienna. Whether there were any letters to the net- 
work, I do not know. I suppose there must have been, and if so, CBS 
must have ignored them. The point is, of course, that CBS News is 
under the control and supervision of CBS and that sponsorship pressure 
does not operate as it does in the entertainment phase of radio and 
television. So far as I know, CBS News resisted successfully any such 

81 



pressure. The only CBS comment made to me about Red Channels 
was from Edward R. Murrow, who said: "If you're in trouble, we're 
all in trouble." 

Arthur Gaeth could not be located for comment on his experi- 
ence with Red Channels. He formerly broadcast over ABC for the 
United Electrical Workers union. 

William S. Gailmor, Roderick B. Holmgren and Lisa Sergio have 
all been retired from broadcasting. Holmgren recently described 
his case this way: 

For the two years following the end of the war, I was "labor's own 
commentator," sponsored by the Chicago Federation of Labor on the 
federation's station, WCFL. I tried to be scrupulously careful to adhere 
to policies on every issue about which I commented. I was fired in 
September, 1947 three years before publication of Red Channels. 
When I pressed for the reason, I was told it was because I had "fol- 
lowed a CIO line." Some time before that, I learned, quite by accident, 
that the manager of the station was visited repeatedly by an agent or 
agents for the FBI, who talked with him specifically about me. It goes 
without saying that I never learned any details of these meetings. 

In December of 1947, 1 went to work for the Chicago Typographical 
Union, writing radio scripts for a series of nightly broadcasts in con- 
nection with the strike against five Chicago dailies. Though the Typos 
asked me to write, produce and emcee the broadcasts, the WCFL man- 
ager refused to let me set foot inside the studios. I continued doing 
these scripts about four months, and quit voluntarily to go to work for 
the Progressive Party in the spring of 1948. 

Some time during 1949 or early 1950, I did a series of news com- 
mentaries for a new FM station in Chicago, WMOR. The broadcasts 
were unsponsored, with the understanding that the station sales staff 
would attempt to obtain a sponsor, using the live program itself as 
"sample." I did two broadcasts about the Peoria Street race riots, in 
which I identified names of several of those who started the violence. 
A ... restaurant chain owner who held some stock in the station, 
pressured the young veterans who were operating the station to suggest 
that I leave the air. I did, remaining friends with the struggling young 
station directors. 

In effect, the loss of my job as commentator for WCFL ended my 

82 



radio career, since I was unable to secure another permanent job in that 
field. It was for this reason that I turned, in 1949, to the labor move- 
ment where I have been working in black-and-white editorial jobs since. 
I suppose the word "progressive" would best characterize my politi- 
cal position. The listing in Red Channels is accurate. I was publicity 
chairman for the National Labor Conference for Peace. I did teach 
classes in journalism at the ill-fated Abraham Lincoln School. I've 
never been quite clear as to what the two citations proved. 

The Red Channels listing, Holmgren feels, merely made it 
"official" that the door was closed. 

Holmgren is now an Associate Editor of the official organ of the 
International Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, which is often cited 
as a Communist-dominated union. 

Johannes Steel had broadcast for what is now station WMGM 
in New York City after he left the Mutual network. Counterattack 
criticized his broadcasts, and there was pressure on him from var- 
ious anti-Communist groups, Catholic groups in particular. Steel 
believes that "the worst pressure group is the Roman Catholic 
Church." At the end of 1948 or early in 1949 (he does not recall 
exactly), he was dismissed by the station. He believes that his dis- 
missal was a consequence of Catholic pressure on the owners of 
the station but adds that all concerned would deny this. When Red 
Channels was published, Steel had the distinction, such as it was, of 
34 Communist-front citations, more than any other radio com- 
mentator. At the time the listings appeared he was already off the 
air. In 1950-51 he returned to broadcasting on New York's WLIB 
on time he purchased himself. But he is again off the air and has, 
he feels, been "driven off." He now characterizes his own political 
position as "an Eisenhower Republican, formerly a Roosevelt 
Democrat." 

J. Raymond Walsh is a former director of Research and Educa- 
tion for the CIO. In 1945 he went into radio. From that year until 
1950 he broadcast for WMCA in New York. His sponsor was a 

83 



retail chain store. There was increasing pressure on the sponsor 
during those five years, principally because of Mr. Walsh's views on 
foreign policy and the China question. His broadcast sharply criti- 
cizing Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech at Fulton, Mis- 
souri, brought on considerable protest. When Red Channels was 
published, he says, the consumer pressure against his sponsor, "es- 
pecially from Catholic groups," was so great that they had to drop 
him, and as he was unsponsored he went off the air. "There is no 
question but that Red Channels played a very important role in my 
case," Walsh says. He characterizes his politics as independent, 
pro-labor and pro-New Deal. "I am more radical than many liber- 
als but not from any specifically Marxian position." He is now with 
a private investment concern in New York. 

Raymond Swing was not listed in Red Channels. But shortly 
after its publication he was invited to debate the question of Com- 
munist influence in radio with Theodore Kirkpatrick, of Counter- 
attack, before the Radio Executives Club. Swing argued that the 
Communist problem was a genuine one in radio but that the danger 
was not only that commentators and entertainers were Communists 
but that technical personnel and the executives themselves might be 
Party members. He also argued that the responsibility for dealing 
with the problem belonged with the networks themselves and ought 
not to be turned over to an outside group which worked for profit. 

Shortly after the debate, Swing was attacked in an issue of 
Counterattack. To the best of his knowledge, this had no effect on 
his career. He subsequently left the Liberty network to spend two 
years as chief political commentator for the Voice of America and 
now works on Edward R. Murrow's staff at CBS. 

In March, 1954, Counterattack devoted an entire issue to Mur- 
row, charging him with receiving an inordinate amount of praise 
from the Communist press and criticizing his broadcasts on Big 
Four talks, the Harry Dexter White case, Lieutenant Milo Radulo- 
vich, and Senator McCarthy. The newsletter stated that Murrow 

84 



slanted his reporting and was guilty of "unsoundness on vital issues 
concerning communism." The criticism of Murrow has often been 
echoed in the American Mercury, the Brooklyn Tablet and other 
right-wing publications. Murrow obviously has not been sub- 
stantially harmed by the attacks and has remarked of unfriendly 
mail and pressure campaigns, "I never worry about that stuff." 

Red Channels and the other listings obviously cannot be blamed 
for all the vicissitudes in the careers of the reputable commentators. 
The Red Channels controversy took place at a time when television 
was making its first inroads into the economic structure of radio. 
The industry was in transition. News departments, stepchildren of 
the industry, are easily affected by economic problems. In the case 
of one well-known commentator, even observers sympathetic to his 
politics suggest that it was not politics that lost him his job it was 
dullness. 

One evaluation of the total effect which the "lists" have had on 
the field of radio opinion itself is a consideration of what is on the 
air today. ABC and NBC are surely no more conservative in their 
news commentaries than they were before Red Channels was pub- 
lished. NBC's broadcasts of news comment tend generally to be non- 
partisan analyses. ABC continues to have a balance of representa- 
tive points of view. The Mutual network's Washington news chief 
has been quoted as saying that he is a "conservative working for a 
conservative network." 

This would seem to be an accurate description of the network's 
general point of view in news comment. But Mutual's example does 
not prove any industry trend. CBS can certainly be characterized 
as more liberal in its news analyses than it was five or six years ago. 
It no longer strives for the kind of broadcast where, as Paul White 
urged, "the listener is left with no impression as to which side the 
analyst himself actually favors." There are judgments made in CBS 
analyses, and the tone is "internationalist" or "liberal" in so far as 

85 



such categorization is valid. But there are no crusades and opposing 
arguments are honestly reported. 

Yet there have been consequences from the events in which the 
"lists" played a part which are more subtle. And this is perhaps 
the major significance they have had. Edward P. Morgan, former 
CBS news chief, now an ABC commentator in Washington, said 
recently: "The lists, as well as the whole climate of opinion of the 
past few years, put into the minds of even the best men something 
which was not there before a care about the words they used, an 
instinct to cover themselves on controversial issues." He added: 
"Commentators are hard to sell anyway. With a few notable excep- 
tions, no commentator can be sold to a sponsor unless his opinions 
coincide with business opinion or at least don't clash with it." 

Lawrence Spivak, one of the originators of NBC's "Meet the 
Press," argues that by and large sponsors do not use commentators 
to articulate a political position. "Advertisers are primarily inter- 
ested in programs that attract an audience who will buy their prod- 
ucts or services, or bring them good will. There may be exceptions 
to this, possibly on a local level, but even there not many advertisers 
will spend money just to sell their political ideas." 

It is this problem of the general trend in opinion which has had 
an inhibiting effect on commentators. The "lists" are simply one 
aspect of a total situation which might be characterized as an in- 
creased tendency among Americans to condemn rather than argue. 
It is inevitable of course that passionate controversy will involve 
undercurrents of rumor and vituperation. But in recent years the 
undercurrents seem to have quickened. 

Eric Sevareid, chief of the CBS Washington news staff, and some 
of his colleagues did a few paid broadcasts for the Voice of America 
in 1950. Sevareid personally made one short broadcast at the re- 
quest of the Voice, which was trying to comply with the Smith- 
Mundt Act requiring the services of "private enterprise." He and his 
colleagues were then attacked in several anti-Communist "fact 

86 



sheets" as "paid propagandists" for the "pro-Communist" Acheson 
State Department. Sevareid said recently: "This sort of thing, the 
organized pressure and the vituperative letters and calls one some- 
times gets, produce a feeling of depression or distress in a man. Any 
fairly sensitive person cannot help but react." 

Sevareid contends that a commentator ought in fairness to be 
judged by his approach to events. "Some try to be fair, to be objec- 
tive in the sense of avoiding partisanship, not hi the sense of being 
neutral. Some are tendentious." This, he feels, is the difference. 
"Involved too is the special problem of the writer, an essentially 
private problem which does not submit to formulae and which 
rarely is understood, even by network executives, certainly not by 
those who are organizing pressure campaigns to score points for 
one side or the other." 

Martin Agronsky of ABC is a "cooperatively" sponsored liberal 
commentator who has been the target of heavy pressure in recent 
years. "Even though I have experienced some heavy going at 
tunes, I have been commercial. The network has backed me up. 
That's all I ask." Agronsky says, however, that the problem in deal- 
big with the various pressures which affect commentators is simply 
that responsible people in the networks and stations frequently fail 
to find out whether allegations against commentators are true or 
not. A station manager may panic at an organized letter campaign. 
Agronsky feels the networks must choose their commentators care- 
fully, assuring themselves they have a responsible staff, and then 
back them to the hilt. 

Drew Pearson had some specific troubles. Senator McCarthy 
made an attack against him on the Senate floor which caused the 
commentator to lose his sponsor. Pearson feels that the McCarthy 
attack also frightened off some prospective television sponsors. He 
sued McCarthy for libel and has attempted to draw the Senator into 
repeating the charges outside the Senate. 

Elmer Davis of ABC says: "I don't doubt that plenty of people 

87 



have tried to get ABC to put me off the air, but apparently all their 
letters go into the waste basket . . . These things naturally never had 
any effect on what I say." 

Chet Huntley, a West Coast television news analyst now broad- 
casting from New York, became the object of attack in Los Angeles 
for his forthright support of UNESCO, his criticism of Senator 
McCarthy and various other right-wing causes. Huntley's sponsor, 
a coffee firm, was threatened with a boycott. But liberal groups 
rallied to Huntley's support, and the coffee company stood right 
behind him. Their sales actually increased during the controversy 
when Huntley's supporters urged their friends to buy the product. 
The protesting group was not large enough to offset the effect on 
sales. 

A different type of controversy arose in 1954. Judge Dorothy 
Kenyon, a prominent liberal, accepted an invitation to appear on a 
panel discussion show with Godfrey P. Schmidt, entitled "Answers 
for Americans," Mr. Schmidt is president of AWARE, Inc. Two days 
later Judge Kenyon called the program office to inform the director 
that she had discovered "Answers for Americans" to be a Facts 
Forum show. She explained that she was a member of Americans 
for Democratic Action and that the "national policy" of that or- 
ganization "bars" its members from appearing on any Facts Forum 
programs. 

The case was referred by Facts Forum to the American Civil 
Liberties Union as a "shocking case of blacklisting." But, after an 
investigation, the ACLU found that "Miss Kenyon's action consisted 
only of a decision by a person invited to be a participant not to take 
part in a program after discovering that it was sponsored by an 
organization opposed by her organization, the ADA." 



88 



"Clearance" 



EVER SINCE BLACKLISTING in radio-tv began, "clearance" has been 
possible. Dozens of persons who were at one time "unemployable" 
have been put back to work, often after months and even years of 
anguish-ridden idleness. Performers listed in Red Channels and 
denounced furiously in Counterattack, the American Legion's Fir- 
ing Line, the Brooklyn Tablet, the American Mercury and similar 
publications have been found acceptable again. They have been 
"cleared." 

"Clearance" is never a lonely operation. The artist who "clears" 
himself must do so to the satisfaction of those responsible for 
blacklisting him in the first place. He must "clear" himself in such a 
way as to assure potential employers that they are not going to run 
into difficulty if they hire him. Sponsors must feel certain that those 
who originally demanded he be blacklisted now consider him 
"cleared." 

A New York public-relations expert who has guided more than 
a dozen once-blacklisted performers to the "right people," explained 
his role this way: 

"If a man is clean and finds his way to me the first thing I do is 
examine his record. I look particularly to see if it includes charges 
that he is a member of the Communist Party. I want to find out 
if he is 'clearable.' Once I am convinced that he is not a Commu- 
nist, or if he has been a Communist, has had a change of heart, I 
ask him whether he has talked to the FBI. If he hasn't, I tell him 
the first thing he must do is go to the FBI and tell them everything 

89 



he knows. I tell him to say to them, 'I am a patriotic citizen and I 
want you to ask me any questions you have in mind.' 

"Then I find out where he is being blacklisted where it is he 
can't get work, who in the industry is keeping him from working, 
and who outside the industry has made him controversial. If, for 
instance, I find it is the American Legion, I call one of the top 
Legion officials and tell him this man has come to me for help and 
says he is innocent. The official may say to me, "Why this guy has 
47 li stings and I know people who say they don't believe him.' But 
I say, 'I'm going to have him make a statement.' Then, when the 
Legion guy gets the statement and has read it, I call and ask him 
for a note saying he is satisfied by the statement. He will usually 
say, 'I won't put anything in writing but if anyone is interested have 
him call me.' 

"Somewhere along the line I may find George Sokolsky is in- 
volved. I go to him and tell him that the Legion official thinks this 
boy is all right. If I can convince Sokolsky then I go to Victor 
Riesel, Fred Woltman [New York World-Telegram and Sun staff 
writer] or whoever else is involved. When I've gotten four 'affi- 
davits' from key people like these, I go to Jack Wren at BBD&O 
and to the 'security officer' at CBS. 

"I wait a few days, then I telephone Wren. He may say to me, 
'You're crazy. I know 15 things this guy hasn't explained.' I ask 
him, 'What are they?' and he says, 'He didn't come clean.' So I send 
for the guy. He comes in here and he moans and wails and beats 
his head against the wall. 'I have searched my memory,' he will say. 
'I have questioned my wife and my agent. There's not a thing they 
can remember.' 

"I call Wren back and he says, 'When your boy is ready to come 
clean I'll talk to him.' In that case we've reached a dead end. My 
boy has been cleared but he can't get a job. I know cases where 
victims have sat around eight to ten months after 'clearance' before 
they got work." 

90 



A second possibility, the "clearance" guide pointed out, is that 
Wren will say, "I think you are right about this boy, but what do 
you want from me? I can't hire him." In that case, the public- 
relations man said, the victim has to find a friend who is casting a 
television show and is willing to put him on the air to test his 
"clearance." "If the attempt backfires and protests come in, the 
guy is through." 

"Last of all," the guide said, "there is the possibility that Wren 
will pick up the phone and call a casting director or producer and 
say, 'Why don't you give Bill a part hi the show?' " Once the black- 
listed performer appears on a CBS television program, it is notice 
to the industry and to all the producers that he can be used. 

The public-relations expert concluded: "A guy who is in trouble, 
even if he has a good case for himself , will stay dead unless he finds 
someone like me who can lead him through the jungle of people who 
have to be satisfied. He has to persuade these people one by one. 
Usually he finds his way to a lawyer and that comes a cropper, or 
he finds a public-relations man or press agent who doesn't have the 
confidence of the 'clearance men,' and he's only wasting his time." 

Without access to the chief "clearance men" (who are often the 
same persons who make the damning indictment), the blacklisted 
artist can get nowhere. These particular men are all-important. 
They have the power to wound and the power to heal the wound. 
They can hold off right-wing criticism, which in turn cuts off pres- 
sure on sponsors or networks when a "controversial" artist is put 
back to work. If the performer is well known he may need not 
only their passive sufferance but active support to re-establish him- 
self with that section of the public given to telephoning networks 
and writing protest letters to sponsors. So it is fairly meaningless 
to say that no one can clear a blacklisted artist but the artist himself. 

What are the qualifications for a "clearance man"? His own anti- 
Communist credentials should be recognized by the groups which 

91 



stimulate blacklisting. He must be acceptable not only to other 
"clearance men" but to the networks' and advertising agencies' 
"security officers." His word must mean something to persons like 
Laurence A. Johnson, the powerful Syracuse grocer, who hold the 
economic weapon which seemingly sends terror into the hearts of 
network and agency executives. His "clearance" must stick with 
right-wing editors, columnists and public speakers. It is especially 
important that they stick with various Hearst columnists, the editors 
of Counterattack, and the officers in charge of the American Le- 
gion's anti-subversive committees. In some cases the "clearance 
men" have sold their services as public-relations consultants and 
speech writers to the artists going through "clearance." In other 
cases "clearance" activities are based on disinterested service. 

A blacklisted artist who wants to clear himself might see any one 
of a fairly select group of men whose connections and influence 
confer upon them the powers of absolution. Some are more influ- 
ential than others, but all have "clearance" notches in their belt. 

The most professional of all is Vincent Hartnett professional 
not in the sense that his word carries the most weight (actually the 
leading "security officers" on Madison Avenue take a sniffy attitude 
toward Hartnett) but that he makes a full-time occupation out of 
what for others is merely a sideline. 

Hartnett describes himself as a "talent consultant." This does not 
mean that he passes on a singer's voice, a musician's ability or a 
chorus girl's legs; it means that agencies and sponsors check with 
him on the political backgrounds of people being considered for a 
job. His fees are modest $5 for a first report on an artist, $2 for 
additional checking. Where thoroughgoing investigation seems 
called for, the price may go as high as $20. 

In an interview with Jack Gould, radio-tv editor for The New 
York Times, Hartnett "emphasized that he did not accept money 
from artists personally who might wish to avail themselves of his 

92 



advice in countering pro-Communist allegations." The interview 
was reported in the Times, June 20, 1955. Two years earlier, when 
a well-known actress wanted to do just that, Hartnett wrote back 
to her attorney that further research would be necessary in order to 
insure a complete report, and to authenticate information. The fee 
for such a complete report would be two hundred dollars. This 
would include a thorough analysis of Miss X's left-wing connections 
in the theatre, as well as listed affiliations with activities cited as 
Communist-front. It would also include photographic copies of key 
exhibits. If the actress really wished to correct her past mistakes, it 
would be necessary for her to review her entire record whether 
obtained from Hartnett or from whatever source she wished. 
Hartnett said there were a few other experts in this field, in addition 
to himself, who would be able to make such an analysis, but he 
imagined their fees would be the same as his, and in some cases a 
bit higher. . . . 

Hartnett was a pioneer. He wrote articles about "Red infiltra- 
tion" of radio-tv and the theatre for the Catholic magazine, The 
Sign, before Red Channels appeared. He has written on the same 
subject for the American Mercury and the American Legion Maga- 
zine. He takes credit for Red Channels (which he once described 
as "no more than a primer on the subject, containing not a tenth of 
the material in my files"). He is currently engaged in writing a big- 
ger and better Red Channels to be called File 13, Volume 2. The 
book, like File 13 (Volume 1) which he circulated a few years ago, 
is intended for a special clientele and, so the rumors go on Madison 
Avenue, will sell for several hundred dollars. 

Hartnett may be the most widely criticized man in the radio-tv 
industry, because he is frankly in the business of exposing people 
with "front records" and then, later, of "clearing" them or as 
the Times writer delicately put it, "advising them on how to counter 
pro-Communist allegations." But some of Hartnett's sharpest critics 
are the well-paid "security officers" on Madison Avenue. Certainly 

93 



Hartnett has not grown rich on his profits, and he is a hard-working, 
thoroughgoing researcher. He seems to have hundreds of facts in 
his head and dozens of documents at his fingertips. 

Hartnett has been aptly described as a "walking filing case." 
Mention a performer's name and he will snap back with something 
like this "Oh, yes, he endorsed People's Radio Foundation, cited 
in the American Legion Summary in November, 1949; signed a 
letter put out by the American Committee for Indonesian Inde- 
pendence you can find that in a 1946 issue of the Indonesian Re- 
view; sent a greeting to Mother Bloor on her 75th birthday a 
Birthday Souvenir Book was published; and, yes, he signed the 
Open Letter for Closer Cooperation with the Soviet Union, re- 
ported in Eugene Lyon's The Red Decade, page 249." 

Hartnett believes fiercely in what he is doing. Even in ordinary 
conversation he sounds like a Counterattack editorial. He hammers 
away at the "Communist conspiracy" (never simply "communism" 
or the "Communist Party"), the "CP transmission belt," the Party's 
"coffers" (never its bank account) , etc. He distinguishes sharply be- 
tween "liberals" and "anti-Communists." Questions about the civil- 
liberties aspect of blacklisting he dismisses as so much anti-anti- 
communism. 

In April, 1951, Hartnett was called as the first witness to appear 
before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee investigating 
"Subversive Infiltration of Radio, Television and the Entertainment 
Industry." He declared that between 1936 and '50 "the Actors 
Equity Association appeared to be dominated by the pro-Commu- 
nist faction." But the situation at the time he was testifying, he said, 
was considerably improved. "However, it is still critical." Hartnett 
proceeded then to cite the voluminous Communist records of two 
radio writers. One he described as a "triple-threat man of the Com- 
munist Party"; the other, a one-time president of the Radio Writers 
Guild, he described as "the next important pro-Communist writer." 

Hartnett received no public credit for his part in preparing Red 

94 



Channels, but he let it be known the idea was his and after the book 
appeared he became a recognized authority on communism in the 
radio-tv industry. He lectured frequently before veterans and 
Catholic parish groups and was formally honored by the Catholic 
War Veterans a few years ago. His fame has spread outside New 
York. When a Hollywood actress tried to find out how she could 
be cleared for radio-tv, Roy Brewer himself referred her to Hartnett. 

Some of the general dislike for Hartnett in radio-tv circles can be 
traced to the inquisitorial tone of his letters. He was criticized 
openly during an AFTRA (American Federation of Television and 
Radio Artists) meeting on this score. In the spring of 1955, Leslie 
Barrett, a television actor, spoke in favor of the AFTRA resolution 
to condemn AWARE, Inc. "There is disagreement," Barrett said, 
"but few will speak out. Why? Because 'I've got a little list,' as the 
saying goes, and if your name is listed, you do not work. Needless 
to say the situation is deplorable. One is afraid to look at anyone, 

to speak to anyone, to protest on the floor You come hi silently, 

you leave silently." 

Barrett a shy man not in the habit of addressing union meet- 
ings was enthusiastically applauded by the radio-tv performers 
for breaking the silence. Before he sat down, he read a letter he had 
received from Hartnett a few weeks earlier. After receiving the 
letter, the actor said, he experienced nothing but "grief and anxiety 
... I can neither hold my food nor sleep." 

The letter from Hartnett went this way: 

In preparing a book on the Left Theater I came across certain infor- 
mation regarding you. A photograph of the 1952 New York May Day 
Parade shows you marching to the right of [Barrett deleted the name]. 
It is always possible that people who have in good faith supported 
certain causes come to realize that their support was misplaced. There- 
fore, I am writing you to ascertain if there has been any change in 
your position. You are, of course, under no obligation to reply to this 
letter. As a matter of fact, I am under no obligation to write to you. 
However, my aim is to be scrupulously fair and to establish the facts. 

95 



If I do not hear from you, I must conclude that your marching in the 
1952 May Day Parade is still an accurate index of your position and 
sympathies . . . 

Barrett's lawyer wrote to Hartnett and stated that the actor had 
never marched in a May Day Parade in his life and had no Com- 
munist leanings or sympathies whatsoever. Hartnett answered by 
writing directly to Barrett: 

To my surprise, I received today a letter . . . from Mr. Klein, a 
lawyer ... I say I was surprised because I wrote my . . . letter to 
you, not to Mr. Klein or any other member of your family ... I have 
no way of establishing that Mr. Klein is authorized to speak for you . . . 
Parenthetically, is Mr. Klein the same Mr. Klein who in 1939 resided 

at , Brooklyn, New York and who is listed as having signed 

the CP nominating petitions, New York State and/or New York City, 
1939-40? Enclosed is a photograph of a group of marchers on the 
New York May Day Parade. The gentleman at left center, underneath 
red arrow marking, certainly looks to me like you. It is possible, I am 
mistaken. There may be some other actor, unknown to me, in New 
York, who closely resembles you . . . 

Barrett's lawyer was not the Klein who signed the nominating 
petition. Barrett was not the actor (if indeed it was an actor) who 
was photographed at the May Day Parade. Hartnett was finally 
satisfied on both these counts and wrote Barrett saying he hoped the 
actor "incurred no expense by the unnecessary move of calling in 
a lawyer. This only muddied the waters." 

Other actors during the same whiter received letters from Hart- 
nett demanding that they "explain" past political associations under 
penalty of being "listed" in his book on the Left Theater. In some 
cases the demands were backed up by a threat that if they did not 
satisfy Hartnett that they had "changed their positions," he would 
publish the "facts" and this, he hinted strongly, would certainly 
have an effect on their popularity and/or employability. 

An actor who had appeared in a play put on at a rally honoring 
several Soviet visitors during the very early postwar period received 

96 



one of these letters from Hartnett. Hartnett stated that if he did not 
hear from the actor he could only presume he was still high in the 
councils of the Communist Party. The actor, a man who never took 
any interest in politics, was stunned. The half-forgotten perform- 
ance Hartnett resurrected seemed entirely innocent at the time. The 
Soviet visitors honored at the meeting were on a tour of the United 
States sponsored by the State Department. The actor merely re- 
peated a role he played in a radio drama during the war, and he 
did so at the request of a radio producer. 

This performer, who sought the advice of a lawyer, also incurred 
some "unnecessary" expenses. The price he paid hi anxiety about 
his future was something else again. 

Hartnett's position on blacklisting is clear: he is for it. Like 
many others, he balks at the word but accepts the fact. Not long 
ago he stated his belief that "no provable Communist Party mem- 
ber or provable collaborator of the Communist Party should work 
on radio or television." 

Several questions arise here: the question of Communist Party 
membership is clear enough, but what is a "collaborator"? The 
"proof" consists in the kind of citations found in Red Channels, 
but "collaborator" remains a word open to several meanings. Is 
signing a Communist-sponsored petition "collaboration"? It could 
be clearly so, if that was the intention of the signer. But the whole 
problem of a front is that it is a front and not the real thing; by its 
very definition, non-Communists are drawn in. In the very begin- 
ning Red Channels made no distinctions between willing collabo- 
rators and "dupes" unwittingly brought into the Communist orbit. 
It could make no such distinction without the ability to read the 
human heart. The confusion is cleared up, according to Hartnett, 
when the "dupe," ready to admit his "mistake," lends himself to 
anti-Communist activity. 

But Hartnett remains the judge of what is and is not "anti-Com- 

97 



munist." For instance, when a reporter asked him whether he would 
accept participation in Americans for Democratic Action as an ex- 
ample of anti-communism, he answered candidly no, he would not. 
The ADA, he said, may be anti-Communist vis-a-vis world com- 
munism but it is "soft on communism" at home; it is part and 
parcel of the "world- wide collectivistic, socialistic movement." By 
the same token, an erstwhile "dupe" trying to gain his credentials 
as an anti-Communist could not afford to support the AFTRA 
resolution to condemn AWARE, Inc., however much he may have 
believed that such groups as AWARE hinder rather than help the 
fight against Communism. 

The point of course is not whether Hartnett's political opinions 
are wrong or right. The point is that some of those who do not 
honestly go along with them either have to conform or risk un- 
employment. 

The following is a statement Vincent Hartnett offered to the 
author of this report: 

It is initially noted that "blacklisting" in its traditional trade-union 
sense refers to denial of employment because of union activities. In 
this correct sense, there is no known "blacklisting" of talent in radio-tv. 
By application, "blacklisting" has been recently used to convey denial 
of employment because of subversive activities. It has also been used 
to connote denial of employment by Communists or pro-Communists 
to individuals who have actively opposed communism. 

No real understanding of this question is possible unless one first 
understands that since the 1930s there has been a "cold war" in show 
business between the Communists and their allies on the one hand, and 
active anti-Communists on the other hand. Communist literature is 
replete with descriptions of Communist efforts to penetrate the theatre 
(in its broad sense) and use "art as a weapon in the class struggle." 
The conflict with the Communist forces in the theatre was first joined 
in an important manner in Actors Equity Association. The conflict 
spread to radio in an important manner in 1943. The Communists 
stepped up their efforts in radio in 1946, following receipt of a directive 

98 



from the Soviet Union. (See my article, "They've Moved In on TV," 
American Legion Magazine, January 1953, pp. 26 ff.) 

As a basic tactic, the Communist forces sought wherever possible 
to give available jobs to party members or collaborators with the 
Communists. Patronage has been of the essence of Communist suc- 
cesses in the theatre. Those who had jobs to give did not need to be 
Party members; they could be "sympathizers." 

That such patronage was used seems a conclusion warranted from 
an examination of the casting on certain TV shows. The old "T-Men 
in Action" series (from its inception until late- 1952) habitually fea- 
tured known Communists and individuals with significant Communist- 
front records. So did the old "Big Story" series, which was also for- 
merly on radio. (Cf. op. cit., p. 26.) 

Complementary-wise, these series in the period noted featured few, 
if any, active anti-Communists. It is not stated that the series deliber- 
ately "blacklisted" active anti-Communists: by hiring a relatively very 
high incidence of Communists and Communist-fronters, they achieved 
the same effect. 

In recent years, other TV series which have manifested a high 
incidence of Communists and Communist-fronters, and a low incidence 
of active anti-Communists, comparatively speaking, are "Danger," 
"Philco TV Playhouse," and "Omnibus" (a project of the Ford 
Foundation). 

There was probably nothing illegal in the effective "blacklisting" of 
active anti-Communists on such series as the old "T-Men." By the 
same token, there is nothing illegal in efforts to favor anti-Communists 
on radio-TV. Such efforts have been dictated by the necessity of 
resisting Communist efforts to penetrate radio-TV and use those media 
for Party purposes. The war against Communist subversion is not just 
five thousand miles away. It is more immediately right here in New 
York. 



99 



The Syracuse Crusade 



LAURENCE A. JOHNSON is A BUSINESSMAN of some prominence 
around his home town of Syracuse, New York. He owns and oper- 
ates four self-service grocery stores and is active in civic affairs. 
His shrewd, colorful merchandising has won the admiration of other 
store owners all over the United States. But to the "security offi- 
cers" on Madison Avenue, Johnson is a good deal more than a suc- 
cessful grocer. He is at once a nuisance and an asset, for he keeps 
a watchful eye on their hiring practices and, in doing so, bears out 
their common contention that blacklisting, however regrettable, is 
economically necessary. "If we don't screen out controversial peo- 
ple," as one executive put it, "we will be hurting the sales of the 
product we are trying to sell. Therefore, not to screen would be 
unbusinesslike and violate the trust of stockholders." 

This "economic" argument was stated in its clearest form by 
Paul M. Hahn, president of The American Tobacco Company, 
makers of Lucky Strikes. Hahn wrote not long ago: 

The company which I represent is a publicly owned commercial 
corporation, engaged in the manufacture and marketing of trade-mark 
consumer goods, which are offered for sale to the general public. It is 
owned by some 85,000 shareholders. Its management is put into office 
by the shareholders ... for the purpose of safeguarding and increasing 
the value of their investments, of earning profits which can be paid to 
the 85,000 owners in the form of dividends. To perform the respon- 
sibility which has been entrusted to it, this management must strive to 
maintain and improve the Company's business, which means main- 
taining and increasing the sales of its products to the purchasing public. 

100 



When a company such as ours uses its corporate funds to sponsor a 
program on television or radio, it does so with but one purpose to 
reach the largest possible number of the public as its audience, and to 
present its products to that audience in the most favorable light . . . 
since it is the function of an artist employed on such a program to 
please rather than to displease, and since the successful promotion of 
consumer products depends in large measure on the impression left 
by sponsored entertainment, it follows that we would be wasting share- 
holders' funds were we to employ artists or other persons who, under 
company auspices, are likely to offend the public . . . We would dis- 
approve of employing an artist whose conduct in any respect, "politi- 
cal" or otherwise, has made him or is likely to make him distasteful 
to the public. 

Laurence A. Johnson, who takes action when a "controversial" 
person does appear on radio-tv, uses economic threats to get his 
way. In addition, much of his effort has gone into making obscure 
and unknown performers "controversial." The Syracuse grocer, 
therefore, not only lends credence to the "economic" argument for 
blacklisting; generally speaking, he is the argument. 

This is not to say that were there no Johnson there would be no 
blacklisting. Far from it. Without him though the industry spokes- 
men would be hard put to illustrate their dollars-and-cents case. 
But everyone can see that when the grocer hi Syracuse objects to 
how his suppliers use their advertising money, he does something 
about it. He visits, phones, telegraphs or writes networks, adver- 
tising-agency executives and sponsors themselves. He does not say 
he will remove the products of the offending sponsor from the 
shelves of his Syracuse stores, but he does threaten to hang a sign 
over their product, pointing out that these manufacturers employ 
"subversives." That is usually enough to get action. Moreover, 
Johnson encourages other store owners to join hi the crusade and 
urges shoppers to write letters threatening to withdraw patronage 
if sponsors do not heed his judgment about radio-tv talent. 

For all their influence, Johnson and his Syracuse supporters do 

101 



not command a wide popular following. For example, they cam- 
paigned against Edward R. Murrow in one of their publications 
(Spotlight) and urged readers to send protests to Murrow's spon- 
sor, the Aluminum Company of America. But Alcoa, according 
to Arthur P. Hall, vice-president, did not receive a single protesting 
letter as a result of the Spotlight story. 

Johnson is well known in the supermarket trade, and on many 
matters his word counts for something. From the beginning, then, 
a number of large corporations employing radio-tv talent cooper- 
ated willingly, almost eagerly, with his crusade. From time to time 
the grocer has released portions of his correspondence with busi- 
ness executives who had only good words for his efforts to police 
the air waves. For instance, a vice-president of Kraft Foods Com- 
pany wrote him on September 8, 1952: "It is indeed heartening to 
know that you are continuing your crusade ... I sincerely hope you 
keep up the good work." On another occasion the President of the 
General Ice Cream Corporation wrote: "I think it is wonderful 
that you have taken this interest hi ferreting Communists out of our 
entertainment industry. I wish there were more people like you." 

Armed with letters like these, Johnson became a power on Madi- 
son Avenue. Few if any of the advertising executives have faith 
in his judgments. But with their most important clients in the 
grocer's corner, even fewer are prepared to ignore him. As the legal 
head of one agency put it: "He gets the sponsors worried. He puts 
the heat on them. Then they put the heat on us. How much of 
that can you stand?" 

Johnson's crusade began in 1951. His influence grew rapidly. 
And as he became more of a power, his demands increased accord- 
ingly. In time, even some of the corporation executives who once 
praised his efforts had all they could take. In a letter to a district 
manager, one corporation executive with responsibility for an im- 
portant television program, outlined some of the difficulties he had 
in dealing with Johnson. The executive wrote: 

102 



Briefly, Mr. Johnson for several years has been taking it upon him- 
self to put various pressures on food manufacturers, and others using 
television, to force them to refrain from engaging certain individuals 
accused by Mr. Johnson and his group in Syracuse of being identified 
with the Communist movement. I believe it is obvious to you, as well 
as to [our] customers that [our] company would not knowingly hire 
a Communist, a subversive, or an objectionable character of any sort 
. . . The only difference of opinion between Mr. Johnson and us is 
that we are not willing to accept his accusations or statements as 
sufficient reason for putting any individual on a blacklist . . . The facts 
of the matter are that Mr. Johnson is desirous of our hiring certain 
individuals whom he names, to tell us how to run our business 
individuals who, like himself, are fighting communism and Commu- 
nistic talent in the theatrical world. He also has asked us from time 
to time to hire certain talent, people active in this same crusade, but, 
unfortunately, people with questionable talent, most of whom we can- 
not use. On the other hand, he overlooks entirely the fact that we have 
used some of his people on many occasions. It is apparent that Johnson 
is not interested in our desire to work with him and cooperate he and 
his group want to dictate our policies . . . 

Up and down Madison Avenue there are steady complaints about 
Johnson's interference. But the industry has never tested the 
grocer's power in any meaningful way. On the few occasions when 
he has been challenged he appears to have come off second best. 
Still, the chances of his power's being fully tested are not good. For 
in Johnson, the Madison Avenue fraternity sees a germ of reality 
worth a thousand opinion polls. The man from Syracuse saves the 
industry from looking like a punch-drunk boxer who takes a swipe 
at the air here and there, then staggers back from imagined blows. 
With Johnson in the ring, the industry spokesmen do not have to feel 
foolish when someone asks just how real the "economic" threat is. 
That argument is based on pleasing "the public"; for purposes of de- 
fending blacklisting, Johnson is the public. He can always be cited if 
one asks what the industry is afraid of. In going straight to the spon- 
sor, Johnson hits the exact nerve center. No sponsor wants his prod- 

103 



uct associated with "controversy." "All Johnson did," said one 
network executive, "was to turn around a can of coffee and discover 
that there, lo and behold, were Mr. Chase and Mr. Sanborn." 

When Johnson began his personal crusade he already had a num- 
ber of factors in his favor. His was a typical medium-sized business 
in a typical medium-sized market. Yet he was close enough to New 
York, and the home offices of his suppliers, their advertising agen- 
cies, and the radio-television networks, to make his presence felt. 
(Industry and sponsor executives and performers asking "clear- 
ance" who have spent time and money on personal visits to Johnson 
might be grateful that he was not rooted in the deep South or far 
Northwest.) What is more, he was eminently respectable. 

The Syracuse grocer's adventures on Madison Avenue began 
when his son-in-law John Buchanan was re-called to serve with the 
Marines in Korea. It was Johnson's daughter, Eleanor Buchanan, 
who started the operation early in 1951. Her father helped mightily, 
providing contacts, mimeographing equipment, money for mailings, 
etc. Later he took the lead personally and made his famous sorties 
into the big time of Hollywood and New York alone. 

On June 12, 1951, Mrs. Buchanan sent a letter to American 
Legion Post #41 in Syracuse. The letter indicated there had been 
a meeting between Johnson, his daughter, an official of Post #41, 
and other Legion members. In it, Mrs. Buchanan said she was 
compiling material from Red Channels, Counterattack and news- 
paper clippings: "Dad and I were pleased that you agree manu- 
facturers can be persuaded to remove Communist sympathizers 
from their advertising programs on radio and television. As you 
gentlemen pointed out in our meeting last Friday, the task is too 
great for me alone. I am grateful for your aid. . . ." 

About the same time, Mrs. Buchanan sent a letter to Syracuse 
housewives. It was addressed to "The Lady of the House" and 
carried with it several pages of material quoted from Red Channels 
and Counterattack and a copy of a Daily Worker story on a Madi- 

104 



son Square Garden rally against the Parnell Thomas Committee. 
Then, on July 24, 1951, in a talk before the Syracuse Kiwanis club, 
Mrs. Buchanan explained her position this way: 

"My husband, a veteran of World War II, never received a 
penny for being a member of the Inactive Reserves. When he was 
recalled to service last October, it meant leaving the small town on 
the Hudson where we'd been so happy. The company in which 
he'd been found to be a valuable asset, my small but interesting 
teaching position at Vassar College, all our plans for the future. 
And I know that Jack detested military life. He's very unmilitary 
about hanging up his clothes. But so many of our friends were 
reservists, I just took it for granted. Only now, faced with the pros- 
pect of being apart from one another, I asked him one day why on 
earth he'd ever signed up in the Reserves. He answered quietly and 
simply in one word. 'Patriotism.' ' 

A few sentences later, Mrs. Buchanan quoted from a letter from 
her husband in Korea: "I have not been sick, which is a blessing 
in this land of loose bowels and bodies. The flies go from the dead 
Gook twenty feet away, to the fish heads he left behind, to my C 
rations, so I'm glad my stomach is strong." 

"Well," concluded Mrs. Buchanan, "my stomach isn't that 
strong. It sickens me to know of those banquets engineered by Red 
sympathizers on radio and television to raise funds for their hench- 
men, and those do-nothing patriotic citizens who discuss the wrongs 
of the world over a dinner table while my quiet, unassuming Jack 
ate his lunch, surrounded by dead Chinese." 

Mrs. Buchanan fired a crusade that reached out far beyond 
Syracuse. She not only pleaded with the Kiwanis, the American 
Legion, the Rotarians, the Advertising Club memhers, and house- 
wives in Syracuse to follow her lead, she sent protest letters with 
"documentation" to sponsors, including Philco, Kraft Foods, Bor- 
den and Stopette, as well as to NBC and CBS. She issued a bulletin 
listing a number of actors who, she said, should be given preferen- 

105 



tial treatment in casting offices. (Among the performers named on 
this "white list" was Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen's dummy.) 

In September, 1951, Syracuse Post #41 of the American Legion 
set up an Un-American Activities Committee and two months 
later began circulating a newsletter which later became Spotlight. 
Spotlight relies heavily on Counterattack, the Firing Line and 
other "listing" publications for its "documentation." It supports 
Senator McCarthy, runs articles by Vincent Hartnett, backs the 
Bricker Amendment and crusades steadily against "Communists, 
Left Wingers and One Worlders." In short, it merely adds another 
voice to the right-wing chorus that thunders into the executive 
suites on Madison Avenue. 

Another Syracuse group was organized as the Veterans Action 
Committee of Syracuse Super Markets. It, too, issued publications 
backing up Johnson's demands. This group is headed by Francis W. 
Neuser, a Johnson employee. 

The Syracuse groups, while insisting that each is independent of 
the other, act in concert. One large sponsor told about a typical 
Johnson campaign. "At one o'clock I got a telegram signed by 
Larry Johnson. At two o'clock a telegram arrived signed by the 
Syracuse American Legion post. At three o'clock there was a wire 
from the Veterans Action Committee of Syracuse Super Markets." 

Johnson's campaign has been taken more seriously on Madison 
Avenue than in Syracuse itself. More inches of newsprint have been 
spent on him in New York City than in his own home town. Even 
when Harvey Matusow testified that, at Johnson's behest, a Madison 
Avenue agency paid him $150 for a phony "blacklist," the Syra- 
cuse Post-Standard put the story on page six and in its headline 
merely referred to Johnson as a "local man." 

Johnson, of course, was one of the "sophisticated anti-Commu- 
nists" taken in by Matusow. At one time he relied heavily on the 
young "ex-Communist" for inside information. Matusow was anx- 

106 



ious to be hired as a "talent consultant" (in Vincent Hartnett's 
phrase) to help screen radio-tv performers, and Johnson urged 
more than one sponsor to take advantage of his services. 

After Matusow confessed he had been a "false witness," Johnson 
minimized the earlier friendship. But at least one corporation 
executive was ungracious enough to remind the grocer that, by his 
own standards, he himself was now tainted by a past "association." 

At the time Johnson was relying on Matusow for information to 
use against radio-tv performers, Matusow was employed by Count- 
erattack. The grocer had no reason to believe that the young man 
was anything other than what he said he was, a sincere, knowledge- 
able anti-Communist. Certainly Johnson was not alone in putting 
his trust in Matusow. But the agencies which accepted Matusow 
as an "expert" did so mainly to please the grocer and convince him 
that they were sincerely cooperating with his crusade. 

In Syracuse, few were surprised that Harvey Matusow had fooled 
Johnson. In his home town the crusader is regarded as a sincere 
patriot but a man frequently carried away by his own zeal. "He is 
a perfect front man for the sharpies in New York," one Syracuse 
leader said. Few of Johnson's fellow townsmen can understand why 
he is taken so seriously on Madison Avenue. 

The first newsletter issued by the Un-American Activities Com- 
mittee of Syracuse American Legion Post #41 reported that it 
was organized originally when a phonograph record made by The 
Weavers, then a popular quartet, was brought to the attention of 
John Dungey, vice-commander of the Post. The Post passed a 
resolution which in substance asked that all radio and television 
stations, music stores and juke box distributors withdraw records 
made by these entertainers. (Pete Seeger of the Weavers was listed 
in Red Channels.) 

Soon after that, representatives of the Syracuse University radio 
and television centers and the six local stations met to discuss John- 
son's anti-Red drive. They unanimously decided not to give hi to 

107 



the growing pressure. In the future, they agreed, they would not 
listen to protests from Johnson which were not "adequately docu- 
mented." ("By that," a participant at the meeting reported, "we did 
not mean Counterattack.") They stated bluntly that they intended 
to decide for themselves what was and was not "adequate" evidence. 
After this decision was announced, local protests about records 
played on the air came to an end. One Syracuse station executive, 
recalling the incident, said recently: "I don't know what's the mat- 
ter with those people in New York. Maybe they're so big they have 
to be stupid." 

Stupid is not quite the word for it. Rather, Laurence A. Johnson 
represents something Madison Avenue might reasonably be ex- 
pected to fear, and which to them, therefore, makes blacklisting, if 
not worthwhile, then at least economically justifiable. For the lead- 
ers of the radio-tv industry are anything but eager to test the 
strength of Johnson's crusade. Neither, of course, are those who see 
in the crusade a convenient instrument for manufacturing protests. 
Spotlight lately has carried as a regular feature a column stemming 
from the activities of AWARE, Inc. And on occasion, the "confes- 
sions" of radio-tv personalities in process of "clearance" have ap- 
peared in the newsletter's pages. This kind of thing makes John- 
son look even more threatening. As he appears more fearsome, 
there is more reason to fear him. 

Here is the way one prominent producer and packager put it: 

The hub as I know it is Johnson. There is a list in every agency 
and even one in this office. But the master plan is held in Syracuse 
because nowhere else is there so much activity. 

These blacklisters are crackpots. This is the McCarthy group and 
they get into this thing because it makes them feel good. It gives them 
a chance to push people around, also to be wined and dined with big 
business men they would otherwise never even meet. And they can 
always bring the pressures to bear by reaching old widows on the 
board of directors of stock companies. Big corporations scare easily. 
They're afraid of publicity. One complaint is enough, you know. Even 

108 



program directors who haven't yet been attacked by Johnson are afraid 
they might be. As far as the protest letters go, I've never seen even one 
that wasn't inspired by these people. 

But producers scare easily too. This one, after speaking so bit- 
terly, said softly: "Publicly of course I have to take an on-the-fence 
position. I can't make any statements." 



109 



"Take Their Word" 



FOR THE AMERICAN LEGION POSTS which care to use it, the semi- 
monthly Firing Line, published by the Legion's Commission on 
Americanism, is a prime source of information. Its circulation, 
estimated at about 4,000, is limited mainly to department and post 
commanders of the Legion. But anyone can subscribe. As one 
Madison Avenue "security officer" put it not long ago, Firing Line 
is "one of the usual sources" to which networks and ad agencies 
turn for guidance. 

The Legion's newsletter is older than Counterattack. Before be- 
coming the Firing Line it bore the less dramatic but perhaps more 
accurate head: Summary of Trends and Developments Exposing 
the Communist Conspiracy. Today it follows fairly close the stand- 
ard form employed by Counterattack, Red Channels and Vincent 
Hartnett's File 13. (J. B. Matthews provided the blacklisting 
movement with most of its root information with his "Appendix IX," 
but credit must surely go to Hartnett for showing how to put that 
information into tidy form, something like a job resume.) The 
Firing Line's sub-billing "Facts for Fighting Communism" is 
only a verb's toss from Counterattack's "Facts to Combat Commu- 
nism," and it often happens that they are referring to the same facts. 
The Firing Line is published out of the Legion's national head- 
quarters in Indianapolis, but its policies are set in Washington by 
Lee Pennington, assistant director of the Americanism Commis- 
sion, and James F. O'Neil, director of Legion publications. 

The blacklisted television performer who wants to be cleared 

110 



soon learns that here are two men he would be wise to cultivate. 
As long as Firing Line remains "one of the usual sources," this 
will be so. 

Pennington had been with the FBI for 25 years when he took the 
Legion post. Until 1940 he was a Bureau specialist in loose ac- 
counting practices; then he became the FBI's liaison man with the 
Legion. A week after leaving the FBI in 1953, he took over the 
assignment as director of the Commission. 

When Pennington speaks about "Americanism" he conjures up 
a comfortable Norman Rockwell calendar image. The thornier 
philosophic problems of democratic government (and this seems 
true of many other guardians of "Americanism") seem not to 
bother him. Pennington is proud of the Legion's Americanism 
Commission. "We do a lot of positive things, too," he is at pain to 
point out. The Commission, for instance, supports high-school 
essay contests, target-rifle tournaments and traffic-safety programs. 

Pennington's "sources" for the Firing Line are familiar docu- 
ments: his shelves are stocked with the written records of the 
Tenney (California), Broyles (Illinois) and Fish (New York) 
Committee hearings on subversive activities. The voluminous rec- 
ord of the House Committee's various hearings occupy the place of 
honor. To this basic library must be added the Communists' own 
record. Not long ago Pennington assigned one of his staff the 
monotonous task of indexing every copy of the Daily Worker pub- 
lished since 1940. Pennington says he is not permitted to look at 
FBI files. As an evaluator of who is and is not open to suspicion, 
he makes every effort not to let personal feelings influence his judg- 
ments. "I was 25 years with the FBI; you had to restrain yourself. 
It's hard to break an old dog of his habits." 

One of the interesting aspects of the blacklisting picture is that 
everyone in the business of "listing" thinks the other fellow occa- 
sionally gets carried away. Pennington is no exception. His re- 
straining influence is placed on the editorial staff of the Firing Line 

111 



in Indianapolis. "In order to evaluate," Pennington says, "we have 
to get all the facts, we have to be very careful. Unless there is a 
general pattern of continued affiliations with the Party, we won't 
use it." But "Usually, when someone is called to testify there is a 
long record." And where there is a question of a letterhead? 
"Mostly, I'll take the letterhead. If the man was not sympathetic 
or did not have a long string of affiliations, he would not have been 
asked to join in the first place." 

The official litany is everywhere the same. "We don't clear any- 
one; it is not up to us to be the judges. We only get the information 
out to alert people." Moreover, Pennington "cordially dislikes" vigi- 
lantism. "We tell people to report their information to the nearest 
office of the FBI and make no attempt at evaluating it themselves. 
They may have run across something valuable to a security case." 
The American Legion posts are autonomous of course; if they 
decide to picket, that's their business. But the national office dis- 
courages public demonstrations. "I had a movie executive call me 
up," Pennington told a reporter who was interested in his views, 
"and the guy wanted me to come to New York to clear somebody. 
I told him, 'I don't clear anybody; have him clear himself.' " 

But the fact remains that Pennington, as keeper of the Firing 
Line file, would have to know if the man actually had "cleared 
himself" and to whose satisfaction. The reporter reeled off the 
familiar names, beginning with George Sokolsky. "They are all 
pretty level-headed fellows," Pennington said. "I would take their 
word for it." 

It may safely be said that he does rely on their word as much as 
they rely on his "clearances" seldom begin with Lee Pennington 
but somewhere along the line he has to come into the picture. Still 
Pennington prides himself on making his own judgments and insists 
firmly that he doesn't "clear" anyone. It is largely a question of 
semantics. 

James Francis O'Neil, director of Legion publications, has had a 

112 



long and distinguished career in the American Legion. He was an 
outstanding National Commander and over a period of many years 
served in various capacities with the Americanism Commission. 
O'Neil, who has been in the forefront of many of the Legion's 
"positive" activities, has testified before various Congressional hear- 
ings as a Legion spokesman and been granted many honors. 

The director of Legion publications whose political views 
rarely if ever vary from the public positions taken by the Legion 
came into the picture early. He passed on the letters which the 
Hollywood producers sent to Legion headquarters in the early '50's. 
On this assignment O'Neil worked with his friend George Sokolsky. 
In the opinion of those who have followed the operation closely, 
O'Neil does Sokolsky's bidding where "clearance" is concerned. 
Like Pennington, he is inclined to take Sokolsky's word for it. 

Like Sokolsky, O'Neil prefers that his role in "screening" movie, 
radio and television talent remain his own business. When a re- 
porter asked him about it, he answered: "I have seen a number of 
people socially, but I see no reason why this should be anybody's 
concern but mine." Sokolsky used almost the same words in answer 
to the same enquiry. Like Sokolsky too, O'Neil said he would not 
"mention individuals." Sokolsky felt that if he were to speak for the 
record he would only be hurting people whose ordeal was behind 
them. 

O'Neil was willing to discuss the Legion's public and official 
record. As far as he could recall, there was not much more to 
the record than the formal condemnation of Charlie Chaplin and 
the convention resolution which led up to J. B. Matthews' article 
on Hollywood in the American Legion Magazine. He underscored 
Pennington's point that since the posts and departments of the 
Legion are autonomous, only the National Commander can speak 
for the Legion as a whole. 

O'Neil believes that nine out of every ten Americans are alert 
to the menace of communism but only a small number understand 

113 



the intricacies of the conspiracy. This wisdom, he feels, falls to 
"men who have devoted their lives to the fight." 

It follows then that these men - Sokolsky and O'Neil among 
them are the proper judges of whether in fact an accused per- 
former has actually "cleared himself." 



114 



Security on Madison Avenue 



IN 1954 THE TOP 100 NATIONAL ADVERTISERS in the United States 
spent some $848 million total in all media. Of this, 42 per cent 
($359 million) went to buy radio and television time. In most 
instances these purchases were made or influenced by one of the 
leading New York advertising agencies. The top four agencies 
(Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn; Young & Rubicam; J. Walter 
Thompson; McCann-Erickson) own or had surveillance over the 
radio-television shows offering the lion's share of the most desirable 
job opportunities. 

The agency which looms largest in the minds and conversation 
of radio-tv people in respect to blacklisting is BBD&O, particu- 
larly in the person of one of its public-relations officials Jack 
Wren, the top "security officer" on Madison Avenue. 

The reason for Wren's prominence is not easily apparent. To be 
sure, BBD&O controls a number of choice jobs, but so do several 
other leading agencies. Moreover, Young & Rubicam, through 
the highly publicized Jean Muir and Phil Loeb cases, has been more 
widely identified with blacklisting. Yet to the performer who wants 
to be cleared for work, Wren's name buzzes through the industry 
grapevine. He and BBD&O are mentioned more frequently than 
any other individual or agency. The reason why is good matter 
for speculation. 

Jack Benny once portrayed a kind of Dick Tracy character 
whose name or face others could not remember, even after they 
had just spoken to him. Jack Wren is not quite that anonymous, 

115 



but he gives the impression he would like to be. For compared 
to the popular image of the advertising-public relations man, Wren 
is an anomaly. For one thing, he shares none of the affectations 
commonly associated with the trade. His office is a small, plainly 
furnished room tucked off in a corner. He has one phone and more 
often than not answers it himself; yet he is prominently listed on 
the ground floor directory of BBD&O executives. 

Wren can well afford to represent himself to BBD&O clients as 
the man running the tightest screening shop in the industry. Per- 
formers and others who have talked to him in this connection 
agree that he keeps on hand perhaps the most extensive and de- 
tailed stock of information in the business. They also seem to think 
that in his zeal to perform his duties, he has become involved per- 
sonally in the politics of blacklisting. 

There is some evidence to bear them out. Wren's private repu- 
tation extends far in the field, farther perhaps than even BBD&O's. 
Lawyers who have had occasion to attempt "clearance" of clients 
consider Wren a power to conjure with. When the Hollywood- 
Broadway actor Leif Erickson sought "clearance" not long ago, at 
least one of the accounts he wrote of past political mistakes crossed 
Wren's desk. Wren helped comedian Henry Morgan out of a 
jam in 1952. Morgan was having trouble getting work because of 
his Red Channels listing and gave a speech before a television 
artists union meeting which helped exonerate him. Wren wrote the 
speech. He also arranged for the World-Telegram and Sun's 
Fred Woltman to write a feature story on the speech commending 
Morgan for his courage. 

Yet publicly Wren remains something of an enigma. He is an 
expert at teaching others how to swim in the treacherous currents 
of publicity but studiously avoids getting his own feet wet. One of 
the rare occasions when his name cropped up in news accounts 
came in February, 1955. He found himself dunked in the flow of 
the day's news then by an irresponsible young man named Harvey 

116 



Matusow. The occasion was Matusow's appearance in New York's 
Federal District Court. As an ex-Communist and paid government 
witness, Matusow had been instrumental in getting 13 Communist 
Party leaders convicted for Smith Act violations. Having under- 
gone another change of heart, he wanted now, on a hearing over 
petition for retrial, to retract his earlier testimony. 

In the course of the hearing, Matusow swore he had once sold 
a "list" to Lennen & Mitchell (now Lennen & Newell) . Later that 
same year, Matusow testified, he helped Wren set up a similar 
"list," in this case not for money but presumably as a public service. 

Lennen & Mitchell came up from this dousing, sputtering de- 
nials that it had ever used the list Matusow drew up. Wren was not 
heard from for some days. Finally, for the benefit of the trade 
weeklies, he pooh-poohed the testimony. But that of course ended 
the matter only momentarily. Other preparations had to be made. 

Wren appears to be one of the school of public-relations men 
who approach their work in much the same way a mathematician 
might tackle a problem in vector analysis. He begins by trying to 
resolve as best as he can a number of pressures impinging on his 
client, on the agency and on himself. To find some norm of action 
he seeks out the balance of forces which will achieve the least 
amount of friction in any given instance. 

Normally, Wren achieves this balance by dealing not only with 
the pillars of blacklisting but with others whose criticisms can 
mean trouble. Those who might be hi a position to certify Wren's 
intentions to minority groups or "liberals," and who themselves are 
above suspicion (e.g. the Anti-Defamation League, or American 
Civil Liberties Union, or Martin Gang, the West Coast lawyer), 
can get a hearing for any person they think has been wronged. But 
clearly Matusow's testimony threw the balance out of kilter. It 
might have to be defended with the previously non-articulate or 
unknowing. 

Hence Wren did what he might have instructed any client to do. 

117 



For one thing, he got together a batch of letters certifying his fair- 
ness in judging blacklist cases. For example, he solicited an actor, 
a Red Channels listee, for a letter attesting that he had helped the 
performer exonerate himself. The actor was then barred from CBS- 
owned shows, but BBD&O had used him on General Electric 
Theater. This, and other testimonial letters Wren collected, could 
be used as defense against critical charges inspired by the Matusow 
testimony. In addition to the people he has helped, Wren can also 
send interested critics around to one or another of his acquaintances 
in the civil-liberties field. 

It is an axiom of the times, as Fortune's William H. Whyte, Jr. 
put it, that if you "control communications, you control." Jack 
Wren evidently has put in a good deal of tune trying to prove the 
axiom out. He (and that means BBD&O) has more information to 
weigh and balance in making judgments on casting lists than any 
other Madison Avenue "security officer." 

Is Wren the secret ingredient that makes BBD&O so prominent? 
Partly. The agency itself however has never been notably shy 
about tackling problems in "consent engineering." Where most 
other agencies, consistent with the "non-controversy" standard, have 
steered clear of politics, BBD&O has jumped right in. It is particu- 
larly well known for its role in "merchandising" the Eisenhower 
campaign in 1952. 

Similarly, rather than sit loose and be buffeted around, BBD&O 
has taken the blacklisting problem for what it is, i.e., a problem in 
public relations, and has treated it accordingly. For unlike most 
other agencies, BBD&O, through Wren, taps the lines of communi- 
cations and takes part in "clearance" procedures. Wren, in short, 
will see "listed" performers and hear them out. Few other agencies 
will. 

Typical of more general practice is the Big Agency (let us call 
it), and its leading authority, a legal vice-president, whom we will 

118 



call Harry Law. By virtue of the size of his agency and his own 
preoccupation with the problem, Law is equipped to give the 
opinion of a general practitioner who has diagnosed a disease but, 
unlike Wren, does not quite know what to do about it. 

The Big Agency will not own up to keeping a "list." If called on, 
though, it can check a casting list inside a half hour. Whatever it 
checks against, Law says, is the product of newspaper clips and 
"other sources." Law is concerned only with over-all policy, not 
with operating details; he says he has never read through a copy of 
Counterattack. Moreover, "We don't use outside investigators." 

Harry Law's thesis is simple. Clients have to be "good citizens" 
as well as businessmen. Some feel it worthwhile to consider the 
validity of accusations but at the same time keep in mind their 
responsibility not to use actual Communists on their programs. For 
its part, the agency, as the "legal agent" of the client, has to be con- 
cerned with "current acceptability." "Acceptability," Law says, has 
to be determined by ear, by intuition based on what the client thinks 
best and what the Big Agency thinks is best for the client and for 
itself. "We would not," Harry Law says, "use Paul Robeson, of 
course. By trying to avoid using the Paul Robesons we are helping 
the fellow who may unjustly be accused." 

But as Harry Law asks: "How do you establish 'clearance' for 
someone unjustly accused?" Law does not care to get his hands 
dirty in "clearance" procedures; the Big Agency will not tell the 
controversial performer why he is not being used nor recite the 
charges against him. Nor will it see the performer under any 
auspices or circumstances. 

"I'm a little suspicious of some of these operations," Law says, 
"they're as close to blackmail as any operation I know that isn't." 
Yet, once a performer is accused, he is dangerously "controversial" 
and the agency has to think twice before using him. 

Here in Mr. Law, then, is an unresolved problem. Wren, on the 
other hand, has taken blacklisting about as far toward the end of 

119 



the line as he can go. By seeing "listed" performers, by trying 
actively to "engineer consent" rather than to accept public opinion, 
so to speak, Wren has created a unique niche for himself and this 
goes a long way toward explaining why he is considered a power on 
Madison Avenue. 

On the surface, it would appear that any procedure, even 
Wren's, would be better than no procedure at all. BBD&O is a 
powerful agency. It can afford to take criticism; in fact, it has to. 
It has more clients, more publics and, in general, more interests 
to balance. Moreover, BBD&O can put performers on shows spon- 
sored by a couple of institutional clients which, compared to, say, 
one of its tobacco or food company clients are not offended by 
small critical slights. 

Unfortunately for the performer though, it doesn't work out 
that way. Wren cannot judge how valid the accusations against a 
performer are; that is immaterial anyway. For Wren's efficiency, 
understandably, is not meant to promote justice, except as it makes 
good public relations. 

Hence, it may be supposed, Wren's "clearances" so far as the 
word has any meaning are few. For Wren does not control com- 
munications, he merely has himself a better listening post. The 
"wrongly accused" in his context are the same as they are in the 
Big Agency's, i.e. the person who is "defensible." Standards vary 
from personality to personality, from client to client. They depend 
on the times, the current intensity of public feeling over the Com- 
munist issue, etc. 

The statutes for the little courthouse on Madison Avenue are the 
words and deeds of several state and federal legislatures, the At- 
torney General's department, and some supplementary laws that 
show up from time to time on the baby blue stationery of AWARE, 
Inc. The bills of particulars come in various shapes and sizes: 
under the logotype of Counterattack or Firing Line, magazines like 
the American Mercury, the neatly mimeographed pages of Vincent 

120 



Hartnett's File 13, the AWARE, Inc. bulletins and its nondescript 
Who's Where. 

Pleaders to the bar are few. For the most part they comprise rep- 
resentatives of institutional pleaders like the Anti-Defamation 
League and American Civil Liberties Union. Without auspices like 
these, or those of Martin Gang, the performer has not much chance 
of being heard anywhere. 

Wren is not a judge in any usual sense. He knows that once the 
defendant is accused, the accusation itself becomes an additional 
factor in judging his competence as a performer which on tele- 
vision means a salesman. The defendant (or "victim" as he is 
known in these circles) may lose jobs or, if he chooses to do his 
penance with enough enthusiasm, may actually get more work than 
he ever had before. By and large, though, if he appears before the 
tribunal, he can expect not much more than "gradual re-employ- 
ment." He may never be entirely successful, but the difference in 
being "blacklisted," "greylisted," "bluelisted" or "whitelisted" is 
considerable. * 



* These are not to be taken as literal lists. Those who are totally "unemployable" 
(comparatively few) are, in this context, "blacklisted." Those who can work for 
one sponsor but not others, on radio but not television, at one network but not 
another, are "greylisted." "Bluelisting" derives its name from the color of 
AWARE, Inc.'s stationery. The "whitelisted" are of course eminently "employ- 
able." Within the industry and in the press all degrees of "unemployability" are 
generally described as "blacklisting." 



121 



"Clearance" at CBS 



THE AUGUST 1, 1955 EDITION of The New York Times carried the 
news that Daniel T. O'Shea, a vice-president of the Columbia 
Broadcasting System, had been named president of RKO Radio 
Pictures, Inc. The Times reporter covering O'Shea's career at 
CBS was hard put to describe his exact job at the network. Mr. 
O'Shea, the Times said, "served as a corporate vice-president and 
general executive in a consultative and advisory capacity to all 
[CBS] divisions." To speak more plainly, Mr. O'Shea had served 
as chief "security officer" at the network between 1950 and '55. 
In the rive years he was with CBS, O'Shea and another, lesser offi- 
cial, a former FBI agent named Alfred Berry, became to the radio-tv 
industry what Jack Wren is to advertising agencies. 

Ironically, the role O'Shea and Berry played, at least in part, was 
an unforeseen byproduct of the very policies which have enabled 
CBS to keep up with, and in some respects overtake, its chief rival, 
the National Broadcasting Company. As Fortune magazine once 
told it, when in 1945 William S. Paley, chairman and principal 
owner of CBS, returned from military service, he formulated his 
strategy for a forthcoming battle with NBC. 

"He had made two major decisions. The first was to concentrate 
on 'creative programming' . . . Instead of being merely a pipeline 
for the programs of others, CBS would become a programming 
organization, originating and putting on its own shows . . . Deci- 
sion No. 2 was to seize leadership in radio by getting control of the 
talent." 

122 



The self -programming policy carried over into television. So did 
the talent policy, only not in the form of Paley's celebrated postwar 
radio talent raids. "While NBC drew on the great resources of 
RCA to gain its position in broadcasting, CBS, having less re- 
sources and having spent heavily to gain its position in radio, was 
forced to counter in TV with the strategy of low-cost programming. 
It worked hard to build a 'creative organization' that would substi- 
tute cleverness and imagination for dollars. The most notable 
example of CBS adroitness in this respect is 'I Love Lucy,' the hit 
that cost only $38,000 to produce." 

The policy worked. But, when the need to apply the "contro- 
versy" standard in hiring arose, it also caused a major headache. 
First, in packaging more shows of its own, CBS has to take more 
responsibility for "clearing" material and talent. As the dispenser 
as well as creator of radio-tv shows, the network is more vulnerable 
to direct public criticism than an advertising agency. 

Second, CBS, in foraging for all the "creative imagination" it 
could lay its hands on, neglected, or could not afford to inquire 
into, personal politics. Hence, as one executive put it: "We un- 
knowingly hired a lot of questionable people." 

When Red Channels appeared, CBS met the blacklisting prob- 
lem by seeking to gain a solid reputation for patriotism with those 
who were counted as "anti-Communist experts," while at the same 
time it maintained its public reputation for "creative imagination" 
via the network's news division. The network set up a department 
to administer internal security but exempted its news division from 
the stern "security" provisions operating in other departments. 

The security problem was at first given to Joseph Ream, a CBS 
executive, and Berry. Ream instituted a loyalty oath for all who 
were employed by CBS to sign under pain of losing their jobs. The 
oath remains the only one of its kind ever used in the industry. It 
required that the employee certify he had not belonged to any of 
the organizations listed as subversive by the Attorney General, or 

123 



if he had, that he provide a convincing "explanation" his member- 
ship was not meaningful. The oath was kept sealed and confiden- 
tial in CBS files. 

The loyalty oath program however proved to be not quite 
enough. There may even be some dispute as to whether it ever 
amounted to more than a dubious public-relations gimmick. The 
first case in which it was questioned involved a producer-director 
named Danny Dare. Dare was among those named by Martin 
Berkeley, Hollywood screenwriter, as Communists or one-time 
Communists, before the House Committee on Un-American Activi- 
ties. Like Berkeley himself, Dare denied the charge. He went to 
Washington, testified that he had not been a Communist and was 
kept on the employment rolls of CBS. Later, he asked for another 
hearing, stating that his first testimony was not truthful. At this 
second hearing, Dare told the Committee that after the people 
Berkeley named were listed in the newspapers "I became panicky 
. . . realizing that if I said 'Yes, that is true,' I would immediately 
lose my job ..." 

Similarly, Allan Sloane, a CBS writer who had signed the 
loyalty oath, later testified that he had been for a short time a 
member of the Communist Party but withheld this fact from the net- 
work. Neither of these experiences sat well with network officials. 

When Ream, an executive of long standing in the industry, re- 
tired to Florida, his place was taken by Daniel T. O'Shea. A gradu- 
ate of Holy Cross College and Harvard Law School, O'Shea had 
served as chief counsel for RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., had been 
vice-president of the Selznick International Pictures Company, and 
was leading executive at Vanguard Films in Hollywood before 
joining CBS in 1950. 

Under O'Shea, CBS developed a vigorous screening policy. Like 
BBD&O, the network seized on the realities of the moment and 
made the best of them. O'Shea and his assistant, Berry, even more 

124 



than Jack Wren, made themselves available to anyone who wanted 
to see them. Ordinarily, they did not seek out the blacklisted, but 
any writer, director or actor who believed he was "not available" for 
CBS shows and felt he had a case could go to them and get a hear- 
ing. This policy has been the object of widespread criticism in 
radio-tv circles. "Clearance" at CBS was from the beginning overt 
and frank; hence O'Shea was an easy and obvious target for those 
in the industry who despised blacklisting. CBS and blacklisting 
have become almost synonymous. Sooner or later everyone hears 
that CBS is the place to go to "get rid of a problem." But it is not 
quite that easy. 

Like Wren, O'Shea and Berry saw to it that they had adequate 
information on hand and kept up their contacts with the "anti- 
Communist experts." Berry took care of day-to-day details. O'Shea 
set the over-all policy for the network and concerned himself only 
with difficult or especially prominent cases, like that of Lucille Ball.* 

Like Wren, O'Shea and Berry were most concerned over whether 
or not they had a full accounting on which to base their judgment. 
The purpose of the interviews was, first, to elicit as much informa- 
tion as possible from the artist "in trouble," and, second, to de- 
termine how full an accounting the artist was giving of his own past 
activities. The "security officers" checked what they knew about 
the artist against what he volunteered to tell them about himself. 
That way they could judge whether he was holding back. If he was, 
his sincerity was open to question. If the artist did not make a clean 



* In 1953 Miss Ball, the top television star of the nation, suddenly became highly 
controversial when newspapers all over the country carried stories that in the 
mid-Thirties, Communist meetings had been held at her home, that she had signed 
CP nominating petitions and had been listed as a member of the Communist 
Party's Central Committee of California. Miss Ball appeared before the House 
Un-American Activities Committee, told them of an eccentric grandfather and 
satisfied the Committee that, as her husband put it, "There's nothing red about 
Lucy but her hair and even that's not real." The public too was satisfied and the 
"I Love Lucy" show continued to appear on CBS. 

125 



breast of all the information they already had, he was dismissed with 
"It's been nice talking to you." 

If he did come up with everything known and then some, indi- 
cating sincerity, O'Shea or Berry took on the case. The first thing 
that had to be decided was whether he was "defensible." He was 
"defensible" if there was enough positive "anti-communism" in 
his record to overshadow the charges made against him. In that 
case he would be "cleared." But even if there weren't enough to 
make him "defensible," the artist, after he finished the interview, 
would have some idea of where he stood and what he could do 
about getting out of "trouble." Here is where a good anti-Commu- 
nist sponsor took over. The artist not yet "defensible" needed ad- 
vice on what kind of "anti-Communist" acts would count with 
the people who counted. 

The standards set for CBS "clearance" procedures are neces- 
sarily hard to fix. They depend largely on how the networks' 
"security officers" read the intentions and opinions of the accusers, 
be it the American Legion or AWARE, Inc. There are fluctuations 
from show to show, from client to client, and from one day's inter- 
national news to the next. "Omnibus," which does most of its own 
casting, is exempt except where, in the word of one executive, 
something "outlandish" is planned. So are most public-service 
programs. 

Yet CBS can't have it both ways. An example was provided 
when Winston Burdett, a CBS newscaster, appeared before the 
Senate Internal Subcommittee in the summer of 1955. Burdett tes- 
tified that in the late Thirties he had belonged to the Brooklyn 
Eagle unit of the Communist Party, had gone to Finland on the 
Party's money and the Eagle's credentials, to do espionage work 
there. Burdett went on to name a number of his associates in the 
Party, some of whom were working newspapermen. 

Then, with astoundingly precise timing, news broadcasts and 
newspapers announced that Senator Eastland, the Committee's 

126 



chairman, had written a letter to CBS asking that the network keep 
Burdett. The letter, which was addressed to O'Shea, plus a CBS 
policy statement, followed hard upon Burdett's testimony. On the 
face of it, both appeared to have been well-timed and well-coordi- 
nated with Burdett's appearance in Washington. The coincidence 
was striking enough to arouse public speculation as to how much 
rehearsing preceded the performance. 

Still, not everyone was satisfied. The night the story broke, news 
commentator Quincy Howe on another network announced that 
Burdett had made his information available in a private hearing 
four years earlier. Howe saw no reason why Burdett's story should 
have been made public at such a late date. It was a lucky thing, 
he said, that Burdett could work on sustaining shows since no spon- 
sor would hire him. But over on a third network, Fulton Lewis, Jr. 
only fifteen minutes earlier said the testimony had raised a lot of 
questions, one of which was why Senator Eastland felt obliged to 
write CBS on Burdett's behalf. Was there any reason to believe, 
Lewis asked, that CBS might have considered firing Burdett for his 
patriotic act in testifying? 

Yet, CBS keeps trying to eat its own cake. Edward R. Murrow, 
who is considered beyond the pale in the anti-Communist power 
centers, goes on his way. Murrow's McCarthy broadcast caused a 
great deal of criticism (some of it merely professional). O'Shea is 
reliably reported to have disputed Murrow's use of J. Robert 
Oppenheimer on the celebrated "See It Now" program which kept 
the "radical-right" pot boiling for months. These instances alone 
would have been enough to upset most conscientious public-rela- 
tions men. But CBS villain to those who reject blacklisting 
can always point to its Ed Murrow when the criticism gets too hot. 
When criticisms of Murrow start to mount, the network can point 
with pride to the tight shop its "security officers" run. 

It is no secret that Murrow is something less than enthusiastic 
about his network's "screening" policies. By the same token, 

127 



O'Shea was utterly convinced that there is at least some intrinsic 
worth in what the network's "security officers" do. Some distraught 
radio-tv people left O'Shea's office feeling less vindictive towards 
him than they were before they went in. One went so far as to 
characterize him as being "emotional" about the problem. All 
seemed to agree that O'Shea was, if nothing else, candid. He be- 
lieved in blacklisting (though undoubtedly the word offended him), 
and he tried to practice it as judiciously as possible. 

More likely than not, the performer "cleared" at CBS had sought 
help. His agent may have told him he was "in trouble" or he may 
have found out directly through a friend in the network that he had 
to be cleared before CBS would hire him. In any event, his chances 
for "clearance" were enhanced considerably if he came under 
auspices of an acceptable "clearance man." If he could come bear- 
ing credentials, or implicit agreement, from AWARE, Inc., Counter- 
attack, the American Legion, or George Sokolsky, so much the 
better. 

The best way for the accused to go about getting "clearance" 
was, and still is, first to find someone who knows his way around. 
In the process the "victim" will almost certainly have to render an 
explanation of his past activities, often in the form of an affidavit. 
He should also divulge whatever information he has, whether or not 
he believes it useful, to the FBI. Depending on his record and 
auspices, he may have to certify his earnestness by other acts. Sup- 
port of an AwARE-endorsed position in his union, plus, say, signing 
a petition against admission of Red China to the U.N., might turn 
the trick. The important thing is to "clear" himself as much as pos- 
sible before seeing the network's "security officers." 



128 



Aware, Inc. 



IN THE SPRING OF 1955 the NBC network, wanting to clear a 
prominent performer for a top dramatic show, asked the actor to 
get two letters of endorsement, one from an officer of the Anti- 
Defamation League, the other from Godfrey P. Schmidt, President 
of AWARE, Inc. The network's request was recognition of the grow- 
ing importance of AWARE, Inc., "an organization to combat the 
Communist conspiracy in entertainment-communications." 

At one time the letter from the Anti-Defamation League official 
might have turned the trick, but in this case it took two endorse- 
ments. And of the two (as the actor found out), AWARE'S was 
harder to get. For it is A WARE'S position that a performer wanting 
to clear himself should not only prove he is not a Communist, or 
Communist sympathizer, but give ample evidence that he is "ac- 
tively" anti-Communist or, in A WARE'S own words, that he does 
not support "dangerous neutralism." 

"No one can be neutral before the Communist challenge and 
peril," AWARE stated in one of its publications. "Its threat to our 
civilization demands that people stand up and be counted." Many 
radio-tv people feel strongly about AWARE because it is their general 
impression that those who wish to establish anti-Communist creden- 
tials must "stand up and be counted" on AWARE'S side on any given 
trade-union issue. Certainly one who opposes blacklisting, for 
instance, would not be considered truly "anti-Communist" by 
AWARE. But it was largely because the organization supports 
blacklisting that members of the American Federation of Television 

129 



and Radio Artists voted almost 2 to 1 in the summer of 1955 to 
"condemn" it 982 in favor of the condemnation, 514 opposed. 
In the New York Times for July 11, 1955, Jack Gould, radio-tv 
columnist, summed up the meaning of AFTRA's vote condemning 
AWARE, Inc.: 

The vote represented the first time that the union's administrative 
forces, which embrace a number of AWARE members, went down to 
defeat in a mail referendum. The majority against AWARE would 
not have been possible without the votes of many conservative federa- 
tion members who in the past have opposed the union's so-called left- 
wing faction. Prior to the referendum, an official of both AWARE 
and the federation had estimated that the vote against AWARE would 
total only perhaps three or four hundred. 

Both the size and source of the anti-AWARE vote give a hollow 
ring to the insistence of the AWARE supporters that the vote puts the 
union in the embarrassing position of not being against Communists. 
Quite the contrary, it was just such thinking accept our way of being 
anti-Communist or run the risk of being branded pro-Communist 
that undoubtedly accounted in large measure for the condemnation of 
AWARE. 

A few weeks before the referendum was taken, Godfrey P. 
Schmidt had been quoted in the Times. "With the best of good will 
we're going to make mistakes," Schmidt said of AWARE, "But we 
cannot let fear of making mistakes freeze us into timid inactivity." 
In Gould's opinion, Schmidt's admission that to catch some Com- 
munists might mean the victimizing of innocent performers, was 
"the best possible argument for not leaving the anti-Communist 
problem in amateur hands" and helped swing the AFTRA vote 
away from AWARE. Gould was convinced that Vincent Hartnett's 
presence on AWARE'S board of directors also aroused resistance to 
the organization among radio-tv performers. 

"Who promoted Peress?" This is how one of the speakers at a 
meeting welcoming the House Committee on Un-American Activi- 
ties to New York in the summer of 1955, began his talk. The meet- 

130 



ing, sponsored by The Alliance, a coalition of right-wing patriotic 
societies, was endorsed by leading figures in AWARE, Inc., including 
the organization's President. The tie-in between the pro-blacklisting 
faction in the radio-tv industry and the "radical right" is hardly a 
secret. AWARE, Inc. is no exception. 

In February, 1955, AWARE sponsored a forum for young peo- 
ple. Among the speakers were the Chairman of the Conservative 
Society, Yale Law School, a member of the Harvard Conservative 
League, and a Queens College representative of the Intercollegiate 
Society of Individualists. At the meeting one speaker urged a 
revival of the America First movement. Other speakers endorsed 
the Bricker Amendment. Robert Amoury of the New York Uni- 
versity Law School expressed dissatisfaction with President Eisen- 
hower's administration. Voters who "saw in Eisenhower a Lochin- 
var" were disenchanted, Amoury said. "They identified him with 
the Taft, McCarthy, MacArthur, McCarran concept of government, 
a concept which places country above party or personality." But 
what has happened to their hopes? "They have turned into the 
ashes of despair." 

The AWARE meeting, in short, was frankly partisan and frankly 
right-wing. It is understandable that a large percentage of the 
AFTRA membership is loath to accept Aw ARE'S standards for 
"sincere and active anti-communism." To many anti-Communists 
in the industry, AWARE is barely differentiated from other right- 
wing political groups (even though from time to time it speaks as 
if its patriotic interests transcend partisan issues) and they want 
no part of it. "If they want to support McCarthy and his crowd, 
that's then: business," said one actor, "but why should my patrio- 
tism be questioned because I disagree with them?" 

What does distinguish AWARE from other right-wing organiza- 
tions is the relentlessness with which it carries its "conspiracy" 
thesis to practical conclusions, and its success in being accepted on 
Madison Avenue as representing the "anti-Communists." 

131 



Godfrey P. Schmidt, the guiding spirit of AWARE, first came to 
public attention when he served as legal counsel for Cardinal Spell- 
man during the famous cemetery strike of 1949. Schmidt, a Ford- 
ham law professor, is well known in Catholic circles and has gained 
something of a reputation as a Thomist logician. For a time he told 
children's stories on radio. This work qualified him for membership 
in AFTRA. Schmidt has often appeared on New York television 
panels, at times as a supporter of Senator McCarthy, always as a 
right-wing conservative battling with "liberal" spokesmen. 

AWARE, under Schmidt's leadership, has generalized its own 
experience in the radio-tv industry into a program for all of Ameri- 
can life. The basic principle of the program is the extension of 
loyalty and security screening to all employment. In an AWARE 
Bulletin entitled "Recommendations for Stockholder and Manage- 
ment Action to Establish Anti-Subversive Policies in Corporations" 
this basic statement is made: "Governmental security regulations 
covering so-called 'defense facilities' (plants or parts of plants ex- 
ecuting defense contracts), are limited and do not protect the rest 
of industry from subversive penetration." The Bulletin goes on to 
outline a method for bringing all corporate employment under 
loyalty screening. A sample stockholders' resolution is given: 

. . . The Directors of the Corporation ... are directed to refrain 
. . . from employing and . . . continuing in employment, any person 
who is found to have been a member at any time of the Communist 
Party or of any group, organization or combination of persons cited 
as subversive by the Attorney General of the United States, the Com- 
mittee on Un-American Activities of the House of Representatives or 
the Subversive Activities Control Board, unless such person shall have 
repudiated such membership under oath; or any person who has 
refused to answer questions about his or her purported subversive 
associations or activities, before any court, legislative committee or 
other properly constituted governmental authority. 

A prominent member of A WARE'S board of directors carried this 
point to its logical conclusion in an interview. Should a Commu- 

132 



nist, he was asked, be allowed to wrap packages in a supermarket? 
No. It was then pointed out that J. Edgar Hoover had estimated 
Communist Party membership at 25,000, with ten fellow travelers 
for every Party member a total of 275,000 people who would, 
on the face of it, be denied all employment. And this num- 
ber of course would increase when past associations were taken 
into consideration. The AWARE board member was asked: "What 
are you going to do with these people starve them into submis- 
sion?" This, he agreeed, posed a problem but nevertheless, the 
principle must be maintained. 

In practice, AWARE, though it urges universal political screening, 
has confined its efforts to the radio and television field. With 
blacklisting firmly established on Madison Avenue, A WARE'S main 
function has been to uphold it and call for its extension. In the case 
of the entertainment industry, the size of the salaries involved is 
added to AWARE'S general arguments for denying employment to 
"subversives." 

AWARE has not published any public "lists," but its bulletins 
have cited the past political associations of radio-tv workers, 
a la Red Channels. These bulletins are treated with the utmost 
seriousness by some of the "security officers" on Madison Avenue. 
But "exposure" is not among AWARE'S chief purposes. The organi- 
zation, rather, has functioned as a pressure group within the in- 
dustry. As individuals, however, certain prominent AWARE mem- 
bers have been deeply involved in the blacklisting machinery. The 
organization's prestige is an element in establishing their creden- 
tials as anti-Communist "experts." For instance, the actor NBC 
was trying to clear, did get a letter from Godfrey Schmidt and was 
given a lead on a dramatic show. When it was announced that he 
would appear a week later there were immediate protests. To the 
embarrassment of the network, Schmidt said he did not intend his 
letter, written in Christian charity, to serve as "clearance" and 
pointed out he wrote it as an individual, not as president of AWARE, 

133 



Inc. But the interesting fact was the enormous prestige which 
Schmidt could bring to bear "as an individual." Armed with his 
letter, the network felt safe in lifting its ban against the actor. 

In its support of political screening, AWARE operates according 
to this logic: Communism is a conspiracy; therefore Communists 
and all those who collaborate with them, knowingly or not, are 
conspirators. A "pattern" of Communistic associations is a pattern 
of conspiracy. So not to support political screening is to support 
political conspiracy. Those who oppose blacklisting, whether they 
know it or not, are supporters of the Communist conspiracy. 

AWARE states frequently that as an organization it does not 
blacklist. This is true. The organization has about the same rela- 
tionship to institutionalized blacklisting as a front group has to the 
Communist Party: it lends position, prestige and power to the 
practice. 

But AWARE goes further than that. AWARE has formalized 
"clearance." It has published a guide on the subject called The 
Road Back (subtitled Self-clearance) . The Road Back asks: "How 
many Communists and those who helped them or permitted 
themselves to be put in the light of helping communism manifest 
a change of heart and mind, perform deeds indicative of this change 
and thus clear themselves of suspicion and return to normal em- 
ployability?" It goes on then to discuss how the truly repentant 
can be recognized. 

The first problem of "rehabilitation" is "who shall judge these 
transitions?" AWARE feels that the judgment should not "rest in 
any official investigating committee or in some private group." The 
principle of "individual responsibility for individual acts" is to be 
determined by "that part of public opinion concerned." In the rest 
of the pamphlet, however, it is made clear that AWARE regards it- 
self as a tremendously important, if not decisive, "part of the public 
opinion concerned" in the case of the radio-tv industry. 

134 



What this means in practice is that a person wishing to be cleared 
must work through "anti-Communists" of AWARE'S persuasion. 
The Road Back notes: "A subject's fellow citizens are not apt to be 
impressed if he insists that anti-communism based on the American 
constitutional system is a greater menace than communism." This 
would seem to be a euphemism warning those going through "self- 
clearance" against associating with "liberal" anti-Communists or 
taking a forthright anti-AwARE position in public. 

However, AWARE does not leave the "clearance" problem up in 
the air. To its credit, it is frank, forthright and specific about how 
a man "in trouble" can be reinstated. The Road Back lists 12 
"suggested steps" in the process of "rehabilitation" : 

1. Questions to ask oneself : Do I love my country? Do I believe my 
country in danger? Can I do anything to relieve that danger? 
Will I tell the full, relevant and unflattering truth? 

2. Recognition that, whatever the subject's intentions at the time, his 
name, efforts, money or other support gave aid and comfort to 
the Communist conspiracy. 

3. Full and frank disclosure, in written form, of all connections past 
and present with subversive elements, organizations, causes and 
individuals. Attach pertinent literature, correspondence, record 
of financial contributions, programs, newspaper clippings or other 
documentary material. Identify those who drew the subject into 
unfortunate situations and actions; identify those the subject in 
turn involved. (This disclosure may be used publicly or privately, 
as circumstances indicate.) 

4. Voluntary and cooperative interview with the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation on the basis of the foregoing full and frank dis- 
closure. The content of such interviews remains inviolate with 
the FBI. 

5. A written offer to cooperate, as a witness or source of information 
with: 

a. The Committee on Un-American Activities of the House of 
Representatives, Room 225A, Old House Office Building, 
Washington 25, D.C. 

135 



b. Subcommittee on Internal Security of the Senate Judiciary 
Committee, Senate Office Building, Washington 25, D.C. 

c. Subversive Activities Control Board, Washington, D.C. 

d. Any other committee in Senate or House properly interested 
in some or all of the information the subject may have. 

e. Any other security agency of the federal government, as may 
be appropriate. 

f . Any state legislative committee or executive office investigating 
subversive activities. 

g. Any local authorities (police departments, grand juries, county 
and federal-district prosecutors and agencies) interested in 
local subversive activities. 

6. In the subject's union (s), he should make his new position on 
communism clearly known by statements in meetings, letters or 
statements in union publications, etc. Whatever else he may do, 
he should not support the Communist or crypto-Communist ele- 
ment on any issue, no matter how attractive or insignificant it may 
then appear. Other union issues may then be freely debated 
without subversive interference. 

7. The subject should make public his new position on communism 
by all other means available: statements in trade publications, 
"Letters to the Editor," personal correspondence to all who might 
be interested: such as anti-Communist journalists and organiza- 
tions, employers, friends and fellow professionals. 

8. Outside the field of entertainment-communications many oppor- 
tunities for establishing a new position are available: political, 
social and civic clubs, parent-teacher organizations, library and 
school committees, religious and cultural groups. They may be 
urged to increase the number of anti-Communist speakers, books, 
lectures, candidates, etc. 

9. Support anti-Communist persons, groups and organizations. 

10. The subject should keep himself informed by subscribing to rec- 
ommended anti-Communist magazines, reading anti-Communist 
books, government reports and other literature. 

11. The subject should support anti-Communist legislation having 
responsible endorsement. 

136 



12. If the subject's new convictions draw him to, or back to, religion, 
so much the better; he achieves the best of all reasons for opposing 
communism. He can become actively anti-Communist in his 
church or other religious organizations. In church groups, as 
everywhere, he can combat neutralism and anti-anti-communism. 

As The Road Back indicates, AWARE, in theory and practice, is 
motivated by the idea that there are only two sides the "pro- 
Communist" side and the pro-AwARE side. According to this view, 
the nearly 1,000 AFTRA members who voted to condemn AWARE 
are at best "dupes" of the Communist Party. George Sokolsky, an 
AWARE fellow-traveler, described the AFTRA condemnation as 
just one more incident in a "struggle between Communists and anti- 
Communists" for control of the union and that is also how 
AWARE saw it. 

What this drastic either/or means psychologically to the actor 
or writer who has to go through "self-clearance" naming the 
names of those who drew him into "situations," for instance can 
only be imagined. Yet for many, unwillingness to submit to the pro- 
cedure means unemployment. Actors "in trouble" have had to 
accept as real the phantom world of AWARE, Inc. a world con- 
ceived of as polarized between two extremes; on the one hand a 
tightly knit group of conspirators; on the other a group of right- 
wing anti-Communists who look on their own politics as the only 
valid form of anti-communism. Because of this drastic either/or, 
all who have not joined the "anti-Communist" side remain, in one 
way or another, suspect to AWARE. 

This is the criticism of AWARE which has made it such a highly 
controversial organization in the radio-tv field. It is a criticism 
which has never been answered convincingly, though few organi- 
zations have as able a spokesman as AWARE has in its president, 
Godfrey P. Schmidt. In the following statement, submitted to the 
author of this report, Mr. Schmidt expresses A WARE'S view on the 
blacklisting problem. 

137 



In The Legislative Way of Life, T. V. Smith makes three asser- 
tions which differ profoundly from the principles applied by AWARE, 
Inc. in its fight against Communist penetration of the entertainment- 
communication field. Smith declares that: (1) "we must assume that 
all major interests in a given society are equally legitimate"; (2) "we 
must assume that representatives of the legitimate interests are equally 
honest"; and (3) that "we must assume . . . that ideals (justice for 
example) cannot be invoked to settle issues that involve quarrels as to 
what the ideals are or as to who owns them." 

In AWARE we begin with a more realistic principle, which has been 
established by history, by philosophy and theology: that communism, 
in theory and practice, is an unmitigated evil and those who spread 
or aid it are to that extent hurting all of us, including themselves. If a 
person does not appreciate this truth, he will scarcely be in sympathy 
with AWARE, Inc.; nor with constitutional government, nor with the 
ideals of patriotism, justice and civic amity which have made the 
United States of America a great nation. 

So uniform is the conviction that communism, in theory and prac- 
tice, affronts essential societal decencies and degrades the human person 
that practically everybody except fools and rogues condemn it and 
criticize those who aid it. 

Now recognition of the grave evil inherent in communism calls for 
action to obliterate or to limit the Communist peril. It will not do 
simply to criticize communism by use of generalities. Patriotism, 
justice and respect or friendship for fellow citizens all impose a duty 
to act. Everyone who gives help and comfort to communism, whether 
in theory or practice, is contributing to the Communist world con- 
spiracy and, to that extent, knowingly or unknowingly, betraying the 
country. Charity forbids that we hate anyone or that we be actuated 
by malice with respect to the fools or rogues who thus try to give aid 
or comfort to communism in one way or another. But we must try, in 
season and out of season, to save them from themselves and to save 
this country and the rest of the world from the catastrophe of the 
world Communist conspiracy. The first requirement in this connection 
is that we recognize and know our enemy and those who do his bidding. 
Because he characteristically hides in cowardly fashion behind pretenses 
and duplicity, he must be unmasked. The person who has joined a 
string of fronts should not be solaced by trade-union sympathy when 
this fact is revealed. Instead, he should now repudiate the fronts. 

138 



Now there are two kinds of people, generally speaking, who are 
obviously aiding and giving comfort to the Communist world move- 
ment: (a) those who are consciously in sympathy with communism 
or with some of its major objectives, principles or methods; and (b) 
those who, through flightiness or mere stupidity, have joined either the 
Communist Party or some of its "transmission belts." 

There is no question here of exposing or humiliating a person who 
years ago, in a moment of ineptitude or immaturity, has joined a Com- 
munist front organization or even the Communist Party but who 
quickly thereafter came to his senses and who, in the intervening years, 
has never applied or lived up to the infamous Communist premises. 
What we are concerned with are those persons who have long, unrepu- 
diated records of significant affiliation with Communist front organiza- 
tions or with the Communist Party. 

AWARE will not be deflected from the fight against the Communist 
conspiracy by anguished cries of "blacklisting" from the very people 
who, as adults, have joined the Communist Party or have, without 
protest, permitted their names to be associated with Communist front 
organizations over a period of years. It is a pitiful spectacle that 
persons who have joined such organizations time and again, who have 
never repudiated communism in any of its forms or fronts, should now 
become tender about being recognized in those affiliations and should 
bleat "blacklisting!" against us who identify their affiliations (as if 
such a "blacklisting" were some nefarious activity) . 

The word "blacklisting" requires definition and distinction. It means 
three different things, as used in current controversy: 

( 1 ) It means the unfair labor practice committed by some employers 
when they discriminate unjustly against anyone because of 
union affiliation or other concerted activity in employment. 
This conduct is condemned by federal and state legislation and 
by good morals. AWARE, Inc. also condemns it and has never 
indulged in it. 

(2) It means defaming someone by untruthful or erroneous state- 
ment; or maliciously destroying someone's good name by 
unfounded or unwarranted defamation. The injury in this case 
is to someone's standing in his profession or to his reputation. 
Such defamation is in violation of ancient standards of law 
(libel and slander). It is also a violation of sound morals and 
religion. Along with all right-minded persons, AWARE, Inc. 

139 



condemns such conduct and has never indulged in it. Every 
time AWARE, Inc., by one of its bulletins has identified a person 
as a member of the Communist Party or as a member of some 
Communist front organization, it has told the complete truth 
and it has in its possession ample documentation or other evi- 
dence to demonstrate this. Not one of the persons thus iden- 
tified by AWARE has filed suit to challenge AWARE'S accuracy. 
(3) Some persons have found it to their advantage to transfer the 
name "blacklisting" from its traditional meaning in senses (1) 
and (2), above, so that it will cover a third meaning: to tell the 
truth about people when, in the interest of one's union, one's 
profession and one's country, the truth needs to be told. This 
is not "blacklisting" imputing wrong or unjust conduct. 

If, in fact, people are giving aid and comfort to communism, by 
becoming members of the Communist Party or by frequently joining 
Communist front organizations, the current world situation requires 
that they be identified as carriers of a political and moral contagion, 
whether they know it or not. They should not be allowed to be 
"neutral" in this fight. They should stand up and be counted. In this 
mortal conflict, he "who gathers not with us scatters." Almost nine 
hundred million people behind Iron Curtains without the slightest 
vestige of civil liberties is holocaust enough. It is time to fight back. 
We must protect ourselves and our heritage. 

In this respect it must be admitted that an actor's reputation is 
"precariously perched." Every man's reputation is, in a sense, pre- 
cariously perched. One foul act, one immoral decision can send it to 
destruction. 

Each responsible human being carries his own reputation in his 
hands, as it were. If he is guilty of obscene or indecent conduct, he 
cannot validly hope to be immunized from criticism for it simply 
because he happens to have great talent as an artist. If a man commits 
murder, he is going to be recognized as a murderer. He cannot run 
to his union because of the damage to his reputation and professional 
standing which results from his own conduct. Communism is a con- 
spiracy that has to its discredit more murders than have ever char- 
acterized any previous tyrants in history. In Red China alone, since 
October, 1949, more than 15 million persons have been liquidated for 
political reasons only. 

140 



A man who affiliates himself with the Communist movement in one 
fashion or another, wittingly or unwittingly, by his own act and choice 
shoulders some of the invidium of communism. He can't blame others. 
No employer can be compelled to employ persons with significant Com- 
munist affiliations. Actors who join Communist fronts have to learn 
the hard way. They have to learn much about their audiences. In the 
main, audiences are patriotic. They resent even slight participation in 
the Communist conspiracy. 

The truth will not be gagged by a slogan like "blacklisting." From 
time to time, as the evidence indicates and as the need demands, 
AWARE will continue to publish the truth about actors who support 
Communist-front organizations. Maybe these actors are too craven to 
want the unpleasant truth about themselves known. But, by par- 
ticipating in Communist-front activity, they have helped conspirators 
in burying a knife in the back of Americans. Their virtuosity as per- 
formers is no condonation. They know this themselves. That is why 
they hysterically condemn "blacklisting," try to make AWARE a scape- 
goat and appeal to unions to do what no union can do: to hygienize 
their popularity tainted with Communist infection. 

They could so easily wash away the infection. 

The strangest part of their performance is that they do the very 
things that they charge AWARE with doing. They say that AWARE is 
unjust because it condemns people. But they, too, condemn people. 
They condemn AWARE, its directors and members. The fact of con- 
demnation is in itself not significant. The important question is: is the 
condemnation warranted on the merits? In the current controversy 
they happen to be wrong. AWARE happens to be right. They do not 
make any serious effort to show AWARE is wrong in its disclosures. If 
it were available to them it would be their best weapon against AWARE. 
No one knows that better than they. 

They like to ask by what right AWARE and its members constitute 
themselves as "self-appointed judges" to criticize in these matters. 
Politically speaking, the right should be obvious to persons who had 
some respect for civil rights and free speech. It is indeed the same 
political right which they presume to exercise when they judge AWARE 
and its membership. The trouble is, their judgment is wrong on the 
facts and on the merits. 

Perhaps the most laughable of all the criticisms addressed against 

141 



AWARE is the one that came from the hysterical performer who began 
by saying: "Don't any of you bigots classify me" He lived in the 
illusion that he was going down the "middle way" and that he was 
attacking extremists at both ends. He was, in a word, a "neutralist." 
Only fools or rogues could be neutral in the fight between the Free 
World and communism, which has ruthlessly despoiled so many nations 
and peoples. The man who didn't want others to classify him, himself 
exercised the right to classify. He called those to whom he was opposed 
"bigots." He denied to others the same right of classification which he 
used with uncouth and random judgment. 

This is typical of the "liberalism" which presumes to attack AWARE. 
The old liberalism wanted less government control. The new liberalism 
wants more government control. The old liberalism yielded to others 
the very civil liberties it claimed for itself. The new "liberals" want 
freedom of speech, freedom to classify for themselves, but not for 
others. The old liberals knew that bad conduct could invoke no immu- 
nity from criticism because of good art. Wagner could be called a 
stinker by the very people who thought he was a genius as a composer. 
The new liberalism wants talent as an actor to shield a man from the 
unpopularity that greets character defects and sin. 

It is not that AWARE wants an immunity from criticism. AWARE 
recognizes that those who are criticizing it in the present controversy 
about "blacklisting" are precisely the people who are laying claim to an 
immunity from criticism because they help communism. Yet they 
freely criticize AWARE and its membership. They ask unions to adopt 
resolutions which are, in effect, gag rules and bills of attainder. Hypo- 
critically, those resolutions are aimed at "blacklisting" in senses ( 1 ) and 
(2) above. Those who have voted for such resolutions have never 
squarely faced "blacklisting" in sense (3) above. If they had, they 
would not be so naive as to suppose that "blacklisting" in sense (3) 
(telling the unpleasant truth that needs to be told) can ever be hindered 
or halted by a union. Persons in public life, such as actors and poli- 
ticians, will always be vulnerable to the truth. It would be a tragic day 
for this country if the truth were not available to wound them in con- 
science and popularity when they hide behind the skirts of the Com- 
munist conspiracy. 



142 



The Theatrical Unions 



IN THE FALL OF 1952, a partial transcript of testimony given be- 
fore the Senate Internal Subcommittee was made public. In a brief 
foreword, signed by the Chairman, Senator McCarran, and Senators 
Eastland and Watkins, this statement appeared: 

In 1943, pursuant to orders from Alexander Trachtenberg, a Com- 
munist leader, there began a systematic Communist infiltration of the 
field of radio. Thereafter, a continuing struggle developed within the 
Radio Writers Guild between pro-Communist and anti-Communist 
factions. Although a large majority of the membership of the Radio 
Writers Guild is anti-Communist, the council of the Guild, which is the 
governing body, is controlled by the pro-Communist faction which has 
aligned the Guild in support of Communist organizations and causes. 

Similar statements have been made at one time or another about 
other New York talent unions, in particular Actors Equity Asso- 
ciation and the American Federation of Television and Radio 
Artists (AFTRA). 

The relationship between union activity and blacklisting in 
radio-tv is complex. In the charges and countercharges of recent 
years, both pro- and anti-blacklisting factions in the talent guilds 
have claimed they were being discriminated against because of 
positions taken at union meetings. One group maintains it has 
suffered because of its "militant unionism"; the other insists it has 
been discriminated against for leading a fight against communism. 
There is a measure of exaggeration in both charges. 

"Militant unionism" per se was never a cause of blacklisting. 
But from union records information could be gathered about a 

143 



performer's or writer's politics, and this information provided 
charges for the dossiers that were assembled when blacklisting 
began. In many cases, then, blacklisted performers and writers 
claimed they were "in trouble" because they were good trade- 
unionists. 

The confusion followed from a more fundamental error. The 
error consisted in sharply dividing theatrical unionists into two 
extremist camps, "pro-Communist" and "anti-Communist," and 
simply ignoring the liberals and conservatives (anti-Communist 
but not right-whig) who make up the center. As a result many 
pro-Roosevelt partisans were falsely assigned to the "pro-Commu- 
nist" camp and some who were opposed to communism but had no 
sympathy for "anti-Communist" extremism were assigned to the 
far right. In the beginning, it was wholly misleading to polarize 
the unions this way. But after the neat division had been repeated 
over and over, the reality began to approximate the lop-sided image. 
For as the struggles between "pro-" and "anti-Communists" intensi- 
fied, the broad center of the talent unions gave up going to meetings 
and the internal strife was actually polarized. To be sure, there 
were still anti-Communists opposed to blacklisting and some liber- 
als and conservatives supported it, but most people directly involved 
simply dropped out and left the extremists to fight it out. 

Before the union situation can be related to blacklisting, then, 
it is necessary to get some idea of how the extremists gained such 
power. The Radio Writers Guild, now defunct, can be taken as a 
typical example. What is said about the Writers Guild is more or 
less true too of AFTRA, the actors' union. 

Three groups were at work in the Radio Writers Guild through- 
out its history: a fairly small Communist faction, a fairly small 
right-wing faction, and a center composed of the bulk of the mem- 
bership, largely liberal and New Dealish. 

There is little concrete evidence of Communist activity in the 
radio-tv field. Only a few former members of the Party have testi- 

144 



fied before Congressional Committees. Much of what has been 
written about the subject makes no distinctions between liberals 
and Communists. Still, certain generalizations are possible and one 
fact is beyond dispute: there was a conscious, organized Commu- 
nist caucus in the entertainment industry which pushed the Party 
line hi the various talent unions. 

The testimony of two witnesses, former members of the Com- 
munist faction, is revealing. One of these, an actor named George 
Hall, appeared at the hearings of the House Un-American Activi- 
ties Committee on August 17, 1955 at the Foley Square Court 
House in New York City. Hall said he had been a member of 
the Party for 18 months, had joined a year after the end of World 
War II and maintained links with the Party after he resigned. He 
went to the FBI on March 5, 1954, and wrote the Committee in 
May, asking for a hearing. The picture he later gave of the opera- 
tion of the Communist faction (the union hi this case was Actors 
Equity Association) does not square with the Communists' repu- 
tation for ubiquity and super-efficiency. 

Hall testified that during his 18 months in the Party he attended 
no union caucus meetings. His main activity during his stay in 
the Party had been to entertain at a few (five "at the outside") 
fund-raising parties. He had voted as he was told in union elections 
but otherwise had not participated in any disciplined Communist 
union activity. 

This is not to imply, of course, that Party activity hi the industry 
and talent unions was ineffective. The testimony of Allan E. 
Sloane, a radio writer, before the House Un-American Activities 
Committee in January, 1954, indicates that the Communists in the 
unions were well organized and disciplined. Party members wrote 
agit-prop scripts (for Party affairs), prepared speeches and carried 
on a lively schedule of political activity. Still, Sloane's testimony 
also bears out the belief that the actual Communists in the industry, 
though dedicated and active, were few at all times. 

145 



But difficulties in assessing the Party's role in the talent unions 
arise when the Communist periphery is taken into account. And 
it is precisely here that most of the confusion has arisen. A case in 
point was a rally held at Carnegie Hall on October 16, 1942, 
under the sponsorship of The Artists' Front to Win the War. The 
meeting was organized to agitate for a second front. "We call 
for united support of our President and the military leaders of 
America, who have urged the advisability of a second front this 
year." The program distributed at the meeting devoted two pages 
to quoting outstanding Americans who agreed that a second front 
should be opened. 

The demand for a second front, of course, was one of the 
major causes of the American Communist Party at that time. But 
many non-Communists were eager for it, too. The sponsors of the 
rally included some who undoubtedly are Communists, or at least 
were then, but also numbered people obviously not Party members, 
among them the veteran anti-Communist actor Eddie Dowling, 
who described himself late in 1954 as "the only supporter of Senator 
McCarthy left on Broadway." The Carnegie Hall meeting was 
typical. It demonstrated that Communists were often able to 
assemble a broad non-Communist and Communist grouping for 
support of their line. 

Paul Milton, a radio writer and board member of AWARE, Inc., 
was asked when he appeared before the McCarran Subcommittee 
in 1951: "Does the line of this Radio Writers Guild leadership 
approximate the Communist Party line?" Milton answered: "On key 
questions, yes, sir. On the Mundt-Nixon bill it followed the line. . . . 
At the time, for instance, that the soldier vote was under considera- 
tion in, I guess it was the House, one of the members, a member 
of the pro-Communist faction, attempted to induce the guild to 
communicate with Washington on the question, when the question 
of soldier's vote, one way or the other, had no connection what- 
soever with the Guild." 

146 



Another witness who testified against the Radio Writers Guild 
leadership, Welbourn Kelley, cited denunciations of the American 
Legion and the (Catholic) Brooklyn Tablet at union meetings as 
examples of the strength of the pro-Communist faction. Clearly, 
in the cases mentioned by Milton and Kelley, there were many 
anti-Communists who opposed the Mundt-Nixon bill, the Taft- 
Hartley bill or who were critical of the American Legion and the 
Brooklyn Tablet. 

Unfortunately, these distinctions have often been ignored. "Inno- 
cent" liberals who participated in Communist fronts and actual 
Party members were often lumped together as the "pro-Communist 
faction" in the debates that raged within the talent unions. Because 
of this, many who were never Communists but have been black- 
listed claim they are being punished for yesterday's union "mili- 
tancy." What did happen is that many pro-union people in the 
entertainment field frequently found themselves in agreement on 
union issues with an unidentified Communist faction. And it is 
the latter fact, not unionism per se, which forms the basis of charges 
against them. 

During the early days of the Radio Writers Guild, there was a 
split on the question of how labor-oriented the organization should 
be. One group considered the Guild part of the general trade-union 
movement. Another thought that the Guild should be a profes- 
sional organization, remote from the struggles of manual workers. 
Some Communists and many non-Communists were in the group 
favoring unionism. Among those who sought to make the Guild 
into a professional association were a number of the people who 
were later to form AWARE, Inc. 

How deep this early disagreement went can be seen from the 
testimony of Ruth Adams Knight. Miss Knight, a veteran radio 
writer, recalled an incident in 1943. She had come back to New 
York after a long absence and was told by a friend that the Guild 

147 



was "faced with a desperate situation." Miss Knight went to a 
meeting to learn what her friend meant. 

I went to the meeting and it was not a meeting which I would have 
recognized I knew very few of the people there it might easily have 
been a meeting of the Steamfitters Union and it had no relation to 
writers or writers' rights or anything of that sort, and it was entirely a 
labor meeting and a meeting in which a great deal of violence was 
expressed. There was a great deal of turbulence ... I do not think I 
am exaggerating when I say the mob spirit of the meeting was very 
evident, and the Author's League, as I say, had always been a dignified 
body of writers . . . 

Thus, the "pro-Communist" and "anti-Communist" split was 
rooted hi a larger disagreement. On the one side were those who 
resisted the Guild's labor orientation as strongly as Ruth Adams 
Knight. On the other side, a large group, by no means all Com- 
munist, differed with them. Since some of the most articulate and 
powerful "anti-Communists" of later years came out of the group 
which opposed the trade-union concept of the Guild, many of the 
non-Communists who had disagreed with them in the past felt that 
a purge of "militant unionists" was on, when blacklisting began. A 
similar situation existed in the American Federation of Radio 
Artists where the right-wing "anti-Communist" faction first began 
to form during the Second World War in opposition to the union's 
endorsing Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

In the period when blacklisting developed, this confusion had 
immediate practical consequences. For one thing, the anti-Com- 
munists of extreme right- whig persuasion were in a good position : 
they had never joined Communist fronts, their records were "clean." 
For another, they took their own analysis of the split in the industry 
seriously. The result was an "anti-Communist" ideology largely 
based on the proposition that there was only one kind of anti- 
communism, that represented by the right wing. Exceptions were 
made (Morton Wishengrad, a liberal anti-Communist writer, is 

148 



acceptable to AWARE, Inc.)? but the prevailing notion was rooted 
in a simplified division of the union into two absolutely opposed 
factions. 

It was this simplification which got the McCarran Committee 
into trouble on the very day it released its report on the Radio 
Writers Guild. One of the central issues before the Guild at that 
time was a highly publicized resolution submitted by Welbourn 
Kelley to the Regular Council Meeting, Eastern Region, of the 
Radio Writers Guild. On July 25, 1950, Kelley had proposed that 
the Guild offer its services to support America's role in the Korean 
War. His motion was rejected, and this fact was repeated time and 
again by those who charged that the Guild was dominated by 
Communists. 

There was a heated discussion about the proposal centered on a 
motion to table, on grounds that the Radio Writers Guild never 
took political positions. The motion to table carried by a vote of 
4 to 3, with the chair casting the deciding ballot. Interestingly 
enough, one of the Radio Writers Guild members frequently ac- 
cused of "pro-communism" by the right wing joined Kelley and a 
member of the right-wing faction in voting against tabling. 

Kelley was angered by the tabling motion. After it carried, he 
proposed, bitterly, that "the Eastern Region Council of the Radio 
Writers Guild go on record as opposed to any cooperation with the 
United States Government if such cooperation places the Guild or 
its membership in opposition to communism." This, of course, was 
an attempt to spell out what Kelley regarded as the implicit basis of 
the motion to table the first resolution. Kelley was ruled out of 
order by the chair, and a vote was taken on this ruling. The liberal 
Guild member who had voted with Kelley against the motion to 
table switched and cast his ballot in favor of upholding the ruling of 
the chair. 

Finally, the following motion was passed, with only Kelley 
dissenting: 

149 



Be it resolved that the Council of the Eastern Region go on record 
as stating categorically that the Council's vote on tabling the first 
motion introduced by Webb Kelley did not involve any expression of 
sentiment on the issue of cooperation or noncooperation with the 
United States Government. 

When the news of this session became public, the Kelley incident 
was cited as proof that the Guild was dominated by "pro-Com- 
munists." Yet there was a precedent for the argument that the Guild 
never took positions on political issues, so non-Communists might 
honestly have voted against the Kelley resolution on that ground. 
This, in fact, was true of at least two or three of the Council mem- 
bers who voted against Kelley. 

Some years later, in 1955, one of the Guild members who had 
voted against the Kelley resolution was called before the Interna- 
tional Organizations Employees Loyalty Board for a hearing to 
determine whether or not the Government objected to his working 
for the United Nations. One of the charges against him was his Guild 
vote at this meeting. But the Loyalty Board cleared the writer. 
Another radio writer who voted against Kelley has notarized state- 
ments from leaders of AWARE, Inc. attesting that they have no 
knowledge he is "pro-Communist." It is possible to establish that a 
majority of those in attendance at the Council meeting were not 
Communist or even "pro-Communists." The reason for their vote 
must be sought elsewhere. But it would be ridiculous to assume 
that only anti-Communists were present at the meeting. Some 
who voted against the Kelley resolution did so on the basis of their 
general political attitude, not because of their respect for the tra- 
ditions of the union. In short, they were pro-Communist. But, 
in a sense, this is what is typical about the Kelley incident. Involved 
were right-wing anti-Communists, liberal anti-Communists and pro- 
Communists. As usual, though, these groupings were reduced to 
"pro-Communist" and "anti-Communist" and the conclusion was 
drawn that the majority was sympathetic to the Red cause. 

150 



In 1952, when the McCarran report was issued, the simplifica- 
tion was reinforced again. But the same day The New York Times 
announced the Committee's findings, it also reported on a letter 
made public by Welbourn Kelley. Kelley said in his letter that he 
had been told his testimony would not be released. More than this, 
he said that he had referred to certain people as "left-wingers" but 
the Committee instructed him to describe them as "pro-Commu- 
nist." "I am extremely sorry that I allowed myself to make this 
mistake," Kelley stated, "I have no doubt all these people will be 
harmed [by the release of the testimony]. I respectfully ask that 
the statements made by me which somehow were omitted from 
the testimony now be made part of the record, namely, that I can- 
not say of my own knowledge that any member of the Guild is a 
Communist." 

Kelley's letter pointed up the mistake which the Committee 
and most analysts made in dealing with the Guild and with the 
union situation in radio, television and the theatre in general: a 
confusion of the "left-wing," i.e. the New Dealer, the Socialist, the 
non-conformist, the radical, with the "Communist conspirator." 

Some liberals tended to make a similar error. They continued 
in the Cold War era to act on the assumptions of the Popular Front 
days of World War II. Many of the election slates put forward in 
the talent unions by the anti-blacklisting group were easy targets 
for their opponents because there was equivocation on the issue of 
communism. The majority of those who protested blacklisting 
were anti-Communists. Yet somehow they believed it necessary 
to include Communists or well-known fellow-travelers on their 
slates so as not to violate civil liberties. The result of this was to 
perpetuate the simplistic division of the union into "pro-Commu- 
nists" and "anti-Communists." The "center" anti-Communist 
and anti-blacklisting never succeeded in making itself heard. This 
was true in both the New York Radio Writers Guild and in 
AFTRA. 

151 



One militant member of the anti-blacklisting faction in the 
Radio Writers Guild recently made this point. He expressed great 
anger with the Communists, especially with those who without 
authorization had marched in May Day Parades carrying union 
signs. But his concern was too late. By the time he realized the 
role of the Communist Party in the Guild, much of the membership 
had been more or less alienated from active participation and the 
polarities of left and right were generally accepted. 

In the New Leader of December 8, 1952, an article by Harry 
Gersch and Paul Milton, both partisans of the "anti-Communist" 
faction in the Radio Writers Guild, described a recent union elec- 
tion. Their caucus, We The Undersigned, had been decisively de- 
feated, and the New Leader article was a kind of post-mortem. 
Toward the end of the piece, they made their essential point: 

The problem of the anti-Communist everywhere in this respect is 
the same: how to reassure the person who may once have been "soft" 
on communism during the depression or the war, who may once have 
given two dollars to an organization which was later seized by the 
Party how to reassure them that their better course is not to fear 
their pasts, but to face them honestly and then go on to fight com- 
munism. 

(The diagnosis, though partisan, is accurate. To it should be added 
the fact that having given two dollars to a certain organization could 
mean, in the radio and television industry, that a man might have 
difficulty finding a job, or at least have some explaining to do.) 
Gersch and Milton raised a related point: "Many believe that 
any attack on Communists and their helpers is an attack on civil 
liberties." In the 1951 election, We The Undersigned "spoke 
vaguely of the dangers of communism to America and to unions. 
No persons were named except the candidates and all WTU 
said was: Don't vote for them. This appeal wasn't enough." But 
in the next election 

152 



... a fresh mandate was sought by WTU from those willing to appear 
publicly as anti-Communists and the 1952 RWG campaign started, 
this time wide open. We The Undersigned's literature now minced no 
words. Names of persons who had been named as Communists in 
sworn testimony (15), the Fifth Amendment group (4), and those 
with records of activity in front organizations, were published to the 
membership. Some of the anti-Communists accepted the new tactics 
with glee; others did so reluctantly and only after much soul searching. 
The RWG leadership reacted violently. Some honest liberals were 
scandalized. Result: the worst defeat yet for the anti-Communist 
group. 

"Some honest liberals were scandalized." This was a very real 
liability in a union whose general tone and attitude were liberal. 
Furthermore, the election took place during the great debate over 
Senator McCarthy and among the members of We The Under- 
signed were many McCarthy-supporters. Here again, a neat 
dichotomy was put forward, this time as pro- versus anti-McCarthy- 
ism. Some of We The Undersigned's opponents were undeniably 
either Communists or Party sympathizers; some of its members 
were undeniably vociferous partisans of Senator McCarthy. But 
the McCarthy, not the Communist, issue was decisive. 

As an aftermath of the campaign by We The Undersigned, one 
of the writers named in their literature filed a libel suit. It was 
settled out of court when most of those who had backed the charges 
against him made statements. A statement signed by one of the 
authors of the New Leader article was typical: 

. . . The statements of our opposition to X's election made in the said 
bulletin were not intended to imply that we had any knowledge of any 
fact that would lead to the belief that he was a Communist or a mem- 
ber of the Communist Party, or directly or indirectly connected with 
the Communist Party, or that he was, when the bulletins were issued, 
or that he is now a member of any Communist front or action group, or 
a member of any Communist conspiracy and we do not have any such 
knowledge. 

Whatever their intention, the We The Undersigned group had 

153 



given many people the impression that they were trying to label 
this writer as a "pro-Communist." And this, in conjunction with 
the widespread belief that the far right controlled We The Under- 
signed, hurt their cause. 

Another element, and one recognized by Milton and Gersch, was 
that We The Undersigned had a "poor group record of union 
activity in the past two years. Many of them had served as officers, 
councilmen, committeemen, but not recently. Most gave up in 
disgust; others who tried again felt so uncomfortable they bowed 
out . . ." This, of course, goes back to the roots of the "pro- 
Communist" and "anti-Communist" division: the anti-Communist 
faction was suspected of anti-unionism because of the role played 
by some of its members in the early days of the Guild. In those 
days, the Communists were associated with "militant unionism," 
and their reputation remained an asset to them later. 

All this took place during the period when blacklisting was being 
institutionalized. The union struggle finally culminated in the 
dissolution of the Radio Writers Guild and the formation of the 
Writers Guild of America. Significantly, the first issue raised in 
the new organization was a referendum on the Communist problem. 

The same forces were at work among the radio-tv actors. In 
late December, 1954, AWARE, Inc. issued a supplement to its 
membership bulletin, entitled "AWARE Publication Number 12." 
The bulletin discussed the opposition the AwARE-supported slate 
had met in the December 9, 1954 AFTRA election. 

"Publication Number 12" began with a report on the victory 
which the AwARE-supported slate had won in the recent AFTRA 
election. "Happily, AFTRA is one of the few unions in which 
flatly declared anti-communism and anti-totalitarianism have won 
many clear victories. The latest took place in the December 9 
election of members of AFTRA's N. Y. Local Board." 

The first statement, that AFTRA is "one of the few unions" in 
which anti-communism is dominant, was itself tell-tale. Given the 

154 



complete defeat of the Communists in the AFL (where they never 
had a base) and in the CIO (where their unions were expelled), 
it could only strengthen the charge that AWARE was anti-union. 
But it was not this statement which aroused AFTRA members so 
much as the "listing" of defeated candidates with their past 
"associations." 

After listing the opposition and their records, AWARE concluded: 
"Thus, out of 26 candidates on the independent' slate, at least 13 
have what are considered significant public records in connection 
with the Communist-front apparatus." In several cases, the charges 
hardly substantiated a "significant public record." For one case of 
a "less significant" record, an actor was accused of having "spent 
some time after the war at the Hollywood Actors Lab," an actress 
of having "studied at the Dramatic Workshop." "Publication 
Number 12" concluded: "In the opinion of qualified observers, the 
Independent' slate in AFTRA this year demonstrates the need for 
a full-fledged official investigation of the entertainment industry in 
New York." 

It would be difficult to create a situation so favorable to AWARE'S 
opposition. The "listing" of names, especially those charged with 
only one activity, and the calling for a Congressional investigation 
were bound to meet with the disapproval of the majority of 
AFTRA's membership. "Publication Number 12" had the effect 
of uniting AFTRA members, and the unity was built on opposition 
to AWARE. It was not long before the opposition was organized. 

In March, 1955, a petition signed by a long list of AFTRA mem- 
bers called for the condemnation of AWARE, Inc. The performers 
charged: 

Certain AFTRA union officials and members have openly associated 
themselves with an outside organization (AWARE, Inc.) which prints 
attacks upon AFTRA members and invites a Congressional investiga- 
tion of the entire entertainment industry. 

In detailing their charges against "Publication Number 12," they 

155 



wrote, "Isn't it common knowledge that such listings become black- 
lists . . . injuring reputations, costing members jobs?" 

It is essential in understanding this fight to realize that eleven 
of the people who signed the petition invoked either the First or 
Fifth Amendment at the House Un-American Activities Committee 
hearing at Foley Square in August, 1955. At the same time, it 
must be realized that the majority of those who opposed AWARE 
at the membership meeting and in the referendum were not in any 
sense "pro-Communist" but anti-AwARE. 

AWARE implied that it recognized the situation when it defended 
itself in a letter to AFTRA members in May, 1955. The letter 
stated: 

Some individuals may even have signed the letter [calling for the 
condemnation of AWARE] in good faith, thinking they were "protect- 
ing" certain other AFTRA members who, so the letter made it appear, 
had been unjustly accused by AWARE of having Communist-front 
records. The plain fact is that members of AFTRA with notorious 
Communist-front records apparently succeeded in getting some unsus- 
pecting AFTRAns to sign the letter with them, so that all of the signers, 
guilty and innocent alike, would be in the same boat. Doesn't this 
technique sound familiar to you? Doesn't it strike you as a "strange 
coincidence" that many too many members of our profession have 
suffered in the past through joining Communist fronts at the instigation 
of the very same people who recently roped unsuspecting members 
into signing that letter? 

(This section of AWARE'S defense was interesting on two scores. 
First, it recognized that the opposition was not simply Communist 
but a combination of pro-Communists and non-Communists. Sec- 
ondly, it could only be read as a not too veiled threat: Individuals 
in the past have suffered by joining with these people; you have 
joined with these people the "therefore you will suffer" was not 
stated. Here again, AWARE succeeded in creating even greater 
hostility toward itself and made it all the easier for Communists to 
enlist non-Communists in an anti-AwARE coalition. ) 

156 



AWARE then went on to remark that "the letter deliberately 
cited only the weakest items in the AWARE Bulletin and, just as 
deliberately, omitted mention of other items of an extremely serious 
nature. Certain candidates for office in AFTRA had done much 
more than 'married a liberal.' They had married (and never 
divorced themselves from) . . . notorious Communist-front 
activities. . . ." 

AWARE'S point was valid. Often the defense against charges of 
communism in the industry is the counter-allegation that only 
"innocent liberals" are attacked. This is not the case. But, un- 
fortunately for AWARE, this was not the main point at issue. The 
AFTRA membership had become disturbed over the whole tech- 
nique of accusations, "listings" and implications of conspiratorial 
"patterns." 

At the end of May, the anti-AwARE forces within AFTRA were 
able to increase their support. In a letter addressed to the member- 
ship, they added names to their list of petitioners, widened their 
base within the union, and, because of AWARE'S tactics, were better 
able to muster their forces. Eventually, the inevitable took place: 
AWARE was condemned at an AFTRA membership meeting and 
later by referendum. Up to the last minute, the pro-AwARE forces 
attempted to pitch the fight on a "Communist" versus "anti- 
Communist" plane. Columnist Leon Racht, an AwARE-supporter, 
wrote in the New York Journal- American on June 18, 1955: "This 
department would like to sound the warning that a 'yes' vote in the 
referendum would unsparingly condemn AWARE and would, in 
effect, poke the Communist camel's nose under the tent of the 
AFTRAns." 

Racht's statement, and almost all the pro-AwARE defenses, 
missed the point by a mile. What needed explaining was not why 
the Communists in AFTRA were opposed to AWARE. That could 
be assumed. The real question was why so many anti-Communists 
were so bitterly opposed to an anti-Communist group. And here 

157 



responsibility has to be placed on AWARE'S own door-step. Its 
tactics, the tone of its anti-communism, its association in the minds 
of many with anti-unionism: these were the significant causes of 
the "condemnation," rather than the machinations of a small group 
of Communists. By placing the debate within AFTRA on an 
either/or, "pro-Communist" or "anti-Communist" basis, and iden- 
tifying true anti-communism with AWARE, the organization created 
a climate in which the Communists could flourish. 

As a result of these factional struggles, the unions in the enter- 
tainment field were unable to offer any genuine resistance to 
blacklisting. 

One talent union, however, has resisted blacklisting: Actors 
Equity Association, the organization of actors in the legitimate 
theatre. By 1955, Equity was the only union in the entertainment 
field which had a functioning anti-blacklisting committee and took 
a forthright stand on the whole question. 

The Communist problem had existed in Equity for many years 
but never became the violently divisive question it was in other 
talent unions. Because of this, it was possible for Equity to negoti- 
ate an anti-blacklisting clause in its contract with the League of 
New York Theatres. 

In the late Thirties, Equity was divided on the same question 
bedeviling other talent unions. One faction regarded Equity as 
part of the general labor movement. Another faction wanted it to 
be a professional association. A number of those later identified 
with the right-wing "anti-Communist" side in union politics held 
the latter position. And the Communists in Equity were a part of 
the labor-oriented faction. Nevertheless, the struggle never became 
as sharp in Equity as elsewhere. 

A pre-war incident illustrated the Communist problem in Equity. 
At a meeting on May 24, 1940, a motion was presented calling for 
American neutrality: "For America's true and complete neutrality 

158 



on the world state today; against America's being dragged into war; 
against the use of actors to further war sentiment; for a definite and 
continuous and sincere effort on the part of our government to 
solve the actor's unemployment problem. . . ." This was, of course, 
the period of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. The American Communist 
Party was pushing strongly for isolationism. As soon as the motion 
was introduced, Equity Magazine reported: "There was a storm 
of emotion aroused, for and against the motion. . . . Mr. Bert Lytell 
ruled that the motion was out of order, from which ruling there was 
an immediate appeal. The count of ballots which followed showed 
that the chair had been sustained by a vote of 88 to 57." 

As a result of the argument over this motion, seven members of 
the Equity Council were accused of being Communists on the floor 
of the House of Representatives. One of the actors accused issued 
a statement to the Associated Press denying any connection with, 
or sympathy for, the Communist Party. Later, the Congressman 
who made the accusation admitted that this particular actor was 
probably only an "innocent stooge" and not an actual Party mem- 
ber. Shortly after the attack, the actor was not nominated for 
re-election to the Equity Council because "it was felt that his re- 
election would not be for the best interests of the membership of 
Equity. ..." (The chairman of the nominating committee which 
took this position was later blacklisted in the movies on the grounds 
of pro-communism. ) 

The storm continued throughout the Equity elections. The New 
York World-Telegram reported that most informed people "dis- 
count completely the Red Angle and call the big struggle a re- 
volt against the 'reactionary, old Guard administration' by a sort 
of New Deal group of actors who want to see Equity climb out of 
the rut. The consistently anti-Administration group of past years 
and whatever Communists are in Equity are off in a corner in the 
role of spectators." After the election, in which the independent 
ticket scored significant successes, two vice presidents and eight 

159 



Council members resigned from their Equity positions as a protest 
against "subversive elements" in the union. In their statement of 
resignation, they declared: 

For years we have been struggling against an influence in our asso- 
ciation which seemed to us subversive of American ideals and insti- 
tutions. We have seen this element change Equity more and more 
from a Guild of Professionals, working for the best interests of the 
theatre as a whole, to a labor union of different objectives." 

During this period, Equity itself demanded a Congressional in- 
vestigation of alleged Communist activity in the theatre. In 1941, 
Bert Lytell, President of Equity, sent a wire to the acting chairman 
of the Dies Committee, urging the Committee to investigate Equity 
as soon as possible. Congressman Lambertson, who had made the 
original charge against the Equity members, also pressed for a 
probe. But in August, 1941, a Congressman said: "Just about the 
nearest I have ever come in my life to confessing a sense of utter 
futility has been in connection with my unceasing efforts to have the 
Lambertson charges . . . heard by the Dies Committee." 

The incident was more or less closed in 1942 when Equity passed 
a constitutional amendment which read: 

Under the provisions of this section members of certain specified 
parties, groups and organizations whose activities are deemed inimical 
to the best interest of the Actors Equity Association and its members; 
or of parties, groups and organizations which may hereafter be so 
deemed by the Council, are barred from holding office in or being 
employed by Equity. The right to membership in Equity of members 
of these parties, groups or organizations, is not, however, affected. 

The amendment indicated that the overwhelming majority of Equity 
members were opposed to communism. In later years, even stronger 
motions were passed, including one of outright condemnation of 
communism. 

This dispute in 1940-41 is typical of the struggles that have taken 
place in the talent unions. On one side, the New Dealish faction 
fought to make Equity more of a labor union. On the other, the 

160 



"conservative" faction demanded a professional association. In 
later years, the positions actors took in these debates were used 
against them as accusations in radio-television screening. In all of 
this, Equity resembled other unions. A significant difference, how- 
ever, was the conscious, and successful, attempt in Equity to present 
politically balanced slates. 

After Red Channels and the Jean Muir and Phil Loeb cases, 
there was agitation hi Equity for some kind of anti-blacklisting 
machinery. A motion proposed stated that Equity would fight 
against blacklisting and that the politics of its members was of no 
concern to the Association. This the Council rejected. Instead, a 
motion was passed placing Equity on record as opposed to both 
communism and fascism, and then an anti-blacklisting committee 
was formed. During the same period, there was a proposal to nego- 
tiate a collective-bargaining agreement with the League of New 
York Theatres, which would have referred blacklist cases to union 
arbitration. 

The final agreement did not make blacklisting a matter for union 
arbitration. Instead, the League of New York Theatres proposed 
a joint union-management statement of opposition. The willing- 
ness of the theatre owners to come out against blacklisting was 
strongly criticized by Counterattack. The fact that blacklisting was 
not made a matter of union arbitration was, however, disappointing 
to some members of Equity. Counterattack felt that the agreement 
indicated a "softness toward communism" on the part of manage- 
ment. The anti-blacklisting group in Equity regarded the agree- 
ment of joint cooperation as a watering-down of its original 
proposals. 

In actual practice, the Equity-League of New York Theatres 
agreement has been a moral rather than a practical force. On the 
one hand, as a statement of principle, it was strong enough to draw 
Counterattack's fire. But it has rarely been invoked, largely because 
there are so few actual cases in the theatre. 

161 



In the early days, both the Radio Writers Guild and AFTRA 
created committees to handle the blacklisting problem. All three 
unions in New York banded together in an inter-union liaison. But 
within a few years, the Radio Writers Guild was out of existence, 
and the leadership of AFTRA passed into the hands of people more 
or less sympathetic to political screening. For these and other 
reasons the inter-union committee collapsed. 

AFTRA, the organization of radio and television artists, elected 
a new "middle of the road" slate of candidates in December, 1955. 
It is generally felt in the industry that the election represented a 
defeat for both extremist camps, left and right. The December, 
1955 election was widely interpreted to mean that the fate of the 
union at long last was in the hands of reasonable and moderate 
stewards the middle-of-the-road group which for too long had 
been absent from the scene, leaving the extremists of left and right 
to dominate. In March, 1956 the new directors of the union re- 
solved to formally notify all talent employers networks, stations, 
advertising agencies, independent producers, etc. that the union 
would take "appropriate action" against an employer who dis- 
criminates against an artist on the basis of charges made by AWARE 
or any similar organization. 



162 



Some Interviews 



EXCERPTS FROM A REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK* 

Interview with a radio-television producer 

I know Harry personally. He told me when we met for lunch 
that had we not been friends he would have declined to see me, on 
the basis of being "too busy." He feels unable to say anything for 
the record. 

This is the way the system works at Harry's network. He has an 
assistant named Joe. When a writer, director, musician, performer 
or guest star is being considered for Harry's program, Joe calls an 
extension number at the network's headquarters and turns in the 
name. Later Joe gets a return call from the mysterious person at 
the other end of the wire, who tells him whether the artist being 
considered for employment is "available" or "not available." Now 
it happens from time to time that a "not available" artist has just 
left Harry's office and Harry knows that he or she is available. But 
the euphemism is generally understood and accepted. It all works 
very smoothly. As a producer Harry does not actually participate 
in any checking procedure. 

Harry thinks the lists are "screwy" and that the blacklisters are 
"misguided" and do not understand what they are doing. As far 
as he personally is concerned, he'd use everybody he does not 



* These interviews were granted to a member of the research staff on condition 
that names would not be used. Names here used are fictitious. 

163 



see what harm they could do, even if they wanted to. But he would 
feel "uncomfortable" about using someone he knew for sure to 
be a Communist, "for the simple reason that I can't separate my 
political views from my creative work." (I understood this to mean 
that communism is abhorrent to him and that having a bona fide 
Communist around would make him uncomfortable.) 

"Morale in the industry," Harry feels, "has been badly affected" 
perhaps, he corrected himself, the word "aspiration" would be 
more accurate than "morale." The industry is little more now than 
a way to make money; most of the creative satisfactions have been 
eliminated. "You do what is safer, not better," Harry says. "You 
have to worry how this or that will be taken by the blacklisting 
crowd." 

In Harry's view, the saddest aspect is not the comparatively few 
people who have been deprived of work. The really bad thing has 
to do with the content and quality of the programs on tv and radio, 
"the greatest cultural force since the printing press." The medium's 
full potential is not being fulfilled the industry is hag-ridden by 
fear. 

Interview with a Network Executive 

"Remember we're in the business of selling time to advertisers. 
It is not up to us to disprove allegations against people who want to 
work for us. If someone feels he has been unfairly treated he can 
come in and talk things over he'll get a hearing. But some 
people would rather lick their sores than come in and clear matters 
up. They say they won't 'explain' themselves to anyone. (He 
mentioned the husband of a well-known actress.) All right, then, 
let them pay the price. 

"The problem is different at a newspaper like The New York 
Times. If they lose an advertiser, they can get another one. But 
our network has enormous sums of money tied up with one indi- 
vidual sponsor. We agree to help sell his product. If having this 

164 



one or the other on the air hurts his product, we're not living up 
to our end of the bargain." 

Morale hi the industry: "It bothers me. I'm not an easily in- 
timidated man, and yet this is the only subject I know of that I do 
not feel free to discuss. It bothers me." 

An Actors Agent 

Call him Bart. 

"The worst aspect," Bart said, "is that there are so many differ- 
ent lists and you never know who is on which list. You have to find 
out by trial and error." 

I asked him if, when he decides to take an actor as a client, he 
checks the name against any of the blacklists. "I feel very guilty 
about it," he said, "but I really have to. I call people informally 
at the networks and check around. You know, you pick up little 
scraps of information." 

Bart told me about an actor friend of his, call him Bill Stix. 
Stix had been doing very well on tv until one day he realized 
offers had stopped coming in. He had never belonged to any or- 
ganization of any kind and had taken no part in any political 
activity so he could not understand why he was blacklisted. One 
day he discovered that another actor who had worked in the Group 
Theatre call him Ted Stick was "controversial." After a while 
he got CBS to agree that it was hi fact a case of mistaken identity 
and went back to work. 

Another of Bart's stories concerned a girl who not long ago was 
one of the busiest ingenues in town. She was appearing in a Broad- 
way show when she was blacklisted for tv. "She wasn't even old 
enough to vote yet," Bart said. "But there had been a petition 
floating around backstage, for Willie McGee, and she signed it. 
She was in rehearsal for a tv show and got pulled off when the 
Daily Worker came out with a story listing the people who had 
signed the petition. It was a year before she worked on tv again, 

165 



though she had about 300 performances to her credit. Finally 
she broke down in the office of a network executive one day and 
they decided to help her. She was asked to sign some paper, a 
loyalty oath or something and then she was cleared. But she still 
couldn't work on some 'tough' shows. Maybe for other reasons 
or maybe because of this, she just quit acting and now works as a 
secretary." 

Bart thought that all the lists and the listers were "equally 
harmful." He is bothered because the public "does not understand 
that there really is no very substantial basis for these lists." He 
said he did not believe in lists of any kind. "The sooner we get 
away from them, the better." 

Interview with a labor consultant 

Bernard is close to the industry, though not a part of it. I asked 
if he thought blacklisting was necessary. "I've been involved in 
fighting communism ever since I was a kid," Bernard said. "We 
were Socialists, and there weren't many of us around. There were 
times, back in the late Thirties, when guys like me had a hard time 
getting any breaks in radio. . . . Most of us have changed our ideas 
radically since those days, so I know that people do change. I did 
myself. Even those who were late in changing ought to be given 
a chance. . . . But if I were a producer I wouldn't hire Paul Robeson 
because my show would have to live on its commercial appeal and 
I could not afford to endanger the sponsor's product. A guy who 
uses the Fifth Amendment is almost as controversial as a known 
Communist and a mass media program cannot be so above the 
conflicts of the marketplace as all that." Maybe some who use the 
Fifth Amendment do so for reasons of principle, Bernard said, but 
that puts them in the twilight zone. "Living by unpopular principles 
can be expensive and they have to pay, like a conscientious 
objector." 

Bernard recalled the case of a Japanese musician who was work- 

166 



ing for one of the big networks at the time of Pearl Harbor. This 
man had given long evidence of his loyalty to the United States. 
He had donated his services many times to democratic causes. 
"People went to bat for him, but it didn't help any. He lost his 
job when feeling against the Japanese ran high." 

I asked about morale in the industry. Bernard said that "black- 
listing breeds its own contempt." He said it was bad business to 
turn the authority for hiring and firing over to a group of self- 
appointed experts outside the industry. 

Interview with a television director 

Clayton once had his own troubles. His name was on a widely 
publicized "list." He was later cleared. He was anxious that his 
name not be brought up again, so I agreed to keep the interview 
anonymous. 

Clayton confirmed our information that one network does its 
blacklisting euphemistically by using the "available" tag. He thinks 
that in practice there is no criterion which can be applied without 
injuring innocent people. "Personally, though, if I were choosing 
between two equally talented people and one was a Communist, 
or I thought he was a Communist, I would use the non-Communist, 
because I don't like the Communist mentality." 

About the "lists" and "listers" who have so much influence, 
Clayton said: "They all are pretty reprehensible and incredibly 
inaccurate. I could have sued the guy who 'listed' me but the case 
would have taken four years to get to court and then there is 
the difficulty in establishing proof of libel. Some of these people 
are very careful in choosing their words. . . ." As a general thing, 
Clayton believes, the blacklisting operation encourages people to 
vent their personal resentments "it's a kind of hate-machine." 

Clayton talked about what he called the "predisposed" mentality. 
You can find evidence of Communist-thinking in almost anything 
if you are determined to find it, he believes. He gave two illustra- 

167 



tions of this: One ad man talking with another over lunch said, 
"Why do you always use stories about a little man against a big 
setup it's Communist-like thinking!" Actually, Clayton argued, 
the theme dates back at least to the ancient Greeks. The second 
illustration was from a program presented on "You Are There," 
a CBS television show which dramatizes historical events. This 
particular program was concerned with Galileo's recantation. It 
was all very carefully worked out beforehand in order to keep 
the facts straight and still not offend anyone; it was checked and 
approved by local clergymen before it went on the air. Nowhere 
was it either stated or implied that Galileo was tortured to exact 
his recantation. Still CBS got a letter from a priest denouncing 
the "Communist" implication that Galileo had been tortured. 

Clayton feels that some sort of arbitration may be the answer 
to the problems created by blacklisting. However the talent unions 
have to be discounted since free speech is practically ruled out 
there people who denounce blacklisting on the floor at union 
meetings may be subject to blacklisting for that very reason. But 
in many cases of clear injustice mistaken identity, a wife or 
husband blacklisted because of the partner's associations, etc. 
arbitration could be most effective. Now, he said, it can take as 
long as two years for an actor to clear himself in a case of mistaken 
identity. He knew of such a case. 

Change for the better, he said, has to begin at the topmost level. 

Telephone interview with an advertising agency vice president 

I knew Charlie years ago. He has come up in the world since. 
After I had explained my reason for calling, the conversation went 
something like this : 

"You happen to have picked an issue on which I personally 
would not want to comment . . . (silence). . . . You should talk to 
the vice president in charge of public relations as a matter of fact 
you should talk to the President himself." 

168 



"Well, Charlie, can I quote you as saying this is a subject on 
which you do not wish to comment?" 

"Definitely not! You're not taking all this down, are you?" 

"I'm just making a note that I've spoken to you, and what 
your view is." 

"I haven't any views on this. [Charlie's voice suggested 
concern.] There may be many reasons why the agency may not 
wish to participate in this ah, investigation. These interviews 
consume an awful lot of time, for one thing. ... I always advise 
those who want to get ahead in the ad business not to be throwing 
their names around in print anywhere." 

Interview with a network program director 

Fred did not indicate any anxiety about the problem. His 
manner was relaxed and casual. I took it that this was the attitude 
he was intent on getting across. Fred keeps no "list" himself and 
does not check writers or actors he wants to use. There is no 
need "We're prudent and careful." He sees the American 
Legion's Firing Line regularly but never reads Counterattack or 
any of the other anti-Communist publications which specialize in 
"listing." Occasionally, when he is not quite sure of someone, he 
talks things over with the network's legal department people. 

Fred would not, of course, employ a writer or actor who was 
generally known as a Communist. "I wouldn't use Paul Robeson." 
I asked how he would know for sure that someone was a Commu- 
nist. He said, "Oh, I know." The attitude of the average sponsor, 
he said, was best summed up this way: "Why should we have any 
trouble? There are a lot of other actors around." 

"I've used some people who were a little hot, on religious pro- 
grams, and nothing happened. I don't believe in using people just 
because they are in trouble. I tell the boys working for me to aim 
for the best possible show they can get. I tell them that they should 
not go out of their way to be heroes or make a case out of being 

169 



brave. . . . Actually a good number of those who are in trouble 
aren't particularly talented. There are many mediocre writers and 
actors among them. But take J. H., she is good and we have used 
her. We've also used some writers who are under attack. We don't 
follow any kind of rule." 

Fred held that the situation had been blown up all out of pro- 
portion. "A few have been hurt," he said, "but the sound and 
fury just isn't warranted by the facts." 

The transition from radio to television came at just about the 
same time as "this situation," he said. People who were successful 
in radio are not always the best bet for television, a visual medium. 
Consequently, some radio veterans are not working just because 
they are not tv material. "This," Fred pointed out, "is part of the 
picture." Another factor is that a few years ago, when the movies 
were not hiring people because business in Hollywood was bad, 
the talent market was glutted. Still another thing to remember, he 
cautioned, is that actors and writers sometimes wear out. "Under- 
stand, we have no continuing obligation to hire these people." 

Regarding Red Channels, File 13 and the other "lists": Fred 
said he did not believe in putting police power in private hands. 
The Attorney General's list is helpful, though. 

He could not recall any instance of the Communist Party's line 
coloring a script, and quickly dismissed the possibility on the 
familiar grounds that too many people screen a script before it 
goes on the air. 

Fred said he believed that since this is a free country, anyone has 
a right to say anything he pleases but no one has a Constitutional 
right to be popular if an actor or a writer manages to get himself 
unpopular, he may not work. It's one of the hazards of his trade. 

Interview with a talent agent 

Tom sells scripts, both on a contract and free-lance basis. He 
has no copies of any of the "lists" in his office. But, he says, "You 

170 



never know when you will find out a writer is in trouble. Maybe 
he'll work one place and not another, or he'll suddenly be cut off 
from a series he's doing. You never know why, or on whose sayso. 
One big advertising agency keeps a separate list for each of its 
clients, another has a 'white list.' The networks differ on how the 
situation should be handled." 

"We had a recent experience," Tom said. "This writer had 
been doing Studio One scripts and worked on other programs. 
Suddenly we were told that a script of his couldn't be used on CBS." 
The script editor told Tom "off the record" that the order came 
from "upstairs." "I got the idea," Tom said. "My writer was on 
at least one list. Why? I don't know and I don't think the writer 
did, either. . . . It's like battling ghosts. Somebody tells you sadly, 
'Isn't it a shame,' and that's all you ever get to know about it." 

Tom went on: "If a man were an official security risk, that 
would be another matter. But I never hear about the FBI or the 
Attorney General all I ever hear about is Red Channels and this 
Johnson of Syracuse and the other characters who have made a 
business out of this thing. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine, 
an FBI man, tells me that in time of emergency, they could round 
up all the subversives in double quick time, because they know 
who they are and where they are. If there are any real subversives 
around who ought to be on lists, then it should be done openly 
and efficiently by people with authority, not by quacks and screw- 
balls. The trouble now is that just about everybody is on some list 
or other. There is no clear definition. Liberals and subversives are 
put in the same basket. Maybe this thing gets a few people who 
are really subversive, but it gets a lot of innocent people, too." 

Later: "The burden of proof is on the one accused. You have 
to start 'explaining' something about yourself that you may not 
even know about or remember. Where will all this end? Before 
they get through, we'll have children testifying against their 
parents." 

171 



I asked about the possibility of subversive content in radio and 
television scripts. Tom said: "How can the content be subversive? 
By the time a script gets on the air it has been passed by all kinds 
of people, and believe me, if the implications are so subtle that 
they can't be picked up after all that scrutiny, it's not going to hurt 
anyone." 

About the industry's morale: "Blacklisting has affected every 
aspect of the industry. You'll see when you talk to people who 
work in radio-tv. What happens? Writers write under other names, 
or they split fees with other writers who are still in the clear. . . . 
What can you write about, with all the suspicion and fear around? 
What writer wants to stick his neck out and maybe be called a 
subversive because he hasn't steered clear of social problems?" 

About "controversial" performers: "I'll accept only official 
government sources as authority. Some joined front organizations, 
and so on, but what did it add up to? Actors just talk off the top 
of their heads like emotional children. Those citations don't really 
mean a thing." 



172 



Blacklisting Experiences 



The following is a series of individual experiences with black- 
listing. For obvious reasons, identifications have been withheld. 

A LEADING ACTRESS 

IN SEPTEMBER, 1948, Miss H., who was starring in a play in 
Pittsburgh, spoke at a local rally sponsored by the Westinghouse 
Workers for Wallace. The Wallace meeting, and Miss H.'s appear- 
ance, were widely publicized. Variety reported that a "steady 
stream of ticket holders" turned in their paste-boards for refunds 
after the meeting, yet her play broke box-office records during 
its run in the steel city. 

In 1950, Miss H. was starred in a Kraft Theatre tv production. 
In 1951, she was scheduled to appear on a tv program sponsored 
by General Mills. Miss H. was listed in Red Channels, and protests 
began to come in from Syracuse immediately after it was announced 
she would star on this program. However, the cast rallied behind 
her, the show went on the air as scheduled, and there was no im- 
mediate boycott of General Mills products. 

At the time the storm blew up, Miss H. wrote the executive 
producer of the program: "I understand that some question has 
been raised as to my loyalty to the United States, and I desire to 
inform you categorically that I am not now nor have I ever been a 
member of the Communist Party nor am I now in sympathy with 
Communist objectives." But despite the statement, Miss H. was 
cut off from television work after that. 

173 



She has been able to take part in radio interview programs but 
in almost every case has received no fees. On one occasion, 
during a radio interview, Miss H. referred to her "unpleasant ex- 
periences" but her remarks were edited from the tape when the 
show went on the air. More recently, she has taken part in a 
documentary-type radio program on NBC. But she has yet to 
return to television as a regular performer. 

In 1952, the actress appeared in Washington, D. C. in the play 
"Tovarich." The theatre was picketed by the American Legion, 
and the picketing (reported in Variety) led several theatre man- 
agers in other cities to cancel the play. Again, when Miss H. 
appeared in a Theater Guild production, there were protests. The 
protests did not, however, affect the run of the play or its box-office. 

A few years ago it was announced that Miss H. was going to 
be called by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. She 
was subpoenaed but her testimony was delayed and she never did 
appear. The Committee offered no explanation. Variety referred 
to the incident as a "current Capitol Hill mystery." 

In 1954, she was scheduled to speak at a conference at the Uni- 
versity of Indiana. This appearance was cancelled by a wire 
stating as the reason, "disturbing political publicity" in a news- 
paper. 

In November 1954, Miss H. was involved in plans to star on a tv 
dramatic show. A short time before rehearsals got under way, the 
producer called and asked her to withdraw voluntarily. His office, 
the producer explained, had taken some chances on "risky people," 
and now thought it best to "mark time" for a while. He assured 
Miss H. he would use her as soon as things let up. She agreed to 
withdraw, but there were no more calls from this producer. 

Miss H. is generally recognized as one of America's most dis- 
tinguished actresses. She is still a young woman but is largely 
cut off from the popular media. Lately she has been taking 
drama students and employs her talents by coaching lesser actresses. 

174 



A RADIO ACTOR 

K.L. noticed as early as 1947 that he had not worked on any 
BBD&O shows for some time. He phoned a friend at that agency 
and made an appointment to discuss the situation. Over the 
luncheon table, K.L. was told he could not be used because some- 
one had raised the question of his affiliation, in 1942, with the 
Artists' Front to Win the War. The actor investigated and found 
he had been on the radio the night that organization's only New 
York rally was held; he learned too that he had never given the 
group permission to use his name. As soon as he discovered these 
facts about himself (until he checked he had not trusted his 
memory), K.L. wrote a letter to the director of the BBD&O radio 
series. Shortly after, he was signed for a BBD&O show but re- 
ceived no calls from the agency after this one appearance. Six 
months later he wrote to BBD&O again and succeeded in refuting 
certain charges on file at the agency. Finally, he was able to work 
on BBD&O shows regularly. 

K.L. was not listed in Red Channels. But he noticed his employ- 
ment was falling off during 1950 and part of '51, after Red Chan- 
nels became "the Bible of Madison Avenue." Once again he made 
an appointment to see a director at a big agency. He was told 
he could not be used because various charges against him had 
come up again. As a result of this talk, K.L. sent a letter to the 
agency, stating his opposition to communism. Then an agency 
executive called him and asked why he felt it necessary to write 
such a letter. K.L. told the executive of the anxiety he felt. The 
executive was sympathetic. Within half an hour the actor received 
a call from the agency offering him a job. 

In 1952, one of the agency people K.L. dealt with, called to 
suggest he cooperate with a House Committee investigator who 
was in New York. The actor agreed to see the investigator and 
spent some time with him, most of it K.L. says devoted to 

175 



straightening out misinformation the investigator had picked up. 

At a dinner party in 1953 both K.L. and a network television 
producer were guests. The talk turned to blacklisting, and someone 
asked the producer if K.L. was "employable." The producer said 
bluntly that he couldn't use the actor on his network. This was 
the first indication K.L. had that he was still "in trouble." Im- 
mediately, he wrote to a personal friend high in the network and 
asked the friend to check on the story. His friend assured K.L. 
there was no cause for worry; the only reason he had not been 
used on the network was because more actors than assignments 
were available. 

A year passed and K.L. still had not worked on the network. He 
phoned another executive friend, and a conference with some well 
known "anti-Communists" in the industry was arranged. As a 
result of the conference, K.L. sent "clearance" letters around to the 
proper people, was granted an interview with a network executive 
in charge of "clearances." K.L. is now "employable." But he still 
feels bitter about the months of uncertainty and unemployment he 
experienced and says he will probably never feel truly secure again. 

A RADIO-TV DIRECTOR 

M.P. came to his network after blacklisting was institutionalized 
but only gradually realized what was going on. His first experience 
was with a show that had been blasted in Counterattack. At one 
point, Laurence A. Johnson came to New York to protest against 
an actor who had been used on this show. Johnson contacted the 
advertising agency and sponsor; they referred him to the network, 
which handled hiring for the particular program, but the pressure 
on the network and on the network staff came primarily from 
the agency and sponsor, not from Johnson directly. The sponsor 
was particularly disturbed that the Syracuse grocer might campaign 
against his product. He demanded that the network mollify 
Johnson. 

176 



After considerable negotiations with Counterattack and Johnson, 
the program was finally "cleared." But as a result of its difficulties, 
it became a "tough" show in terms of political screening. A high 
network official took a special interest in the program and laid down 
strict requirements for every actor who appeared on it. The director 
could no longer assemble his casts on a simple merit basis but had 
to take political "screening" into account. Yet pains were taken 
to keep the full extent of this screening secret. Though the director 
knew he could not hire the obviously blacklisted those "listed" 
in Red Channels or Counterattack he did not know that others 
were being rejected for similar reasons. 

At this time the network used the term "not available" in two 
senses. Sometimes it meant an actor was booked up for a certain 
date and was actually not available for other work. But it could 
also mean that he had been screened off the show for political 
reasons. It was some time before M.P. realized the double use of 
the term. M.P. finally understood what was happening when he 
was told that an actor was "not available" and met the actor 
shortly thereafter only to find he was desperate for work. After 
this M.P. sought out actors, checked on whether they were avail- 
able, and then submitted their names on casting lists. Often, the 
actors whose names he submitted would be crossed off as "not 
available." At first the director did not believe that certain people 
in the industry knew how extensive blacklisting had become, and 
he took it upon himself to inform them. But he was told politely 
it was none of his business. If he had any sense he'd stay out of 
the whole mess, one executive advised him. 

Occasionally, M.P., like other directors at the network, put up 
a fight for a particular performer, arguing that he was necessary for 
the success of the show. But they fought without success. 

All this, M.P. remembers, was carried on in a kind of Aesopian 
language which avoided the use of the word "blacklist." Discus- 

177 



sions were about "availability," or people would say, "Is he clean?" 
"Is he o.k.?" etc. 

Finally, M .P. says, the political check became routinized. There 
were certain offices which received casting lists, certain secretaries 
who would call and say that such and such a one was "not avail- 
able." After a while the production staff gave up resisting. They 
realized it was useless, for the blacklisting policy had been set at 
the top level of the network. 

AN ACTOR 

In 1952, V.F. ran on an independent ticket hi Equity. As a 
result of this, he says, his tv employment was largely cut off. Inter- 
estingly enough, throughout the period of his blacklisting, roughly 
during 1952, '53 and part of '54, he was used on one major net- 
work show. 

When he came into Equity, V.F. found the Communist issue had 
caused bitter factional dissension on the Council. At one point, 
he actively fought the imputation of "pro-Communist" sympathies 
which some brought against the "liberal" bloc in the union. He did 
this on the basis of voting records. He himself often voted "con- 
servatively." At the same time he was being attacked from the 
right for harboring "pro-Communist" sympathies, the left wing was 
annoyed by many of the positions he took. 

Finally, toward the end of 1954, V.F. noticed a change in the 
atmosphere. He began to get calls for work on shows which had 
not used him for over two years, though he had taken no steps to 
clear himself. V.F. believes the change was a result of someone's 
taking an interest in his case without telling him about it. Since, 
over the years, he had made many anti-Communist statements on 
the union floor, he feels that even the most cursory of checks 
would have revealed that there was really no basis for blacklisting 
him as a "pro-Communist." 

After he was cleared, V.F. learned that rumors he was a Com- 

178 



munist were still being circulated, but apparently these reports did 
not affect his employment. He is now employable throughout the 
industry. 

A DIRECTOR 

Before Red Channels, J.R. had built up a considerable reputa- 
tion in television. Even after Red Channels appeared, he was 
hired by one of the largest packagers and given important duties 
(his name was not listed in the book). J.R.'s first task was to 
prepare a pilot kinescope for a new show. He did this using two 
actors who had been listed in Red Channels. The kinescope was 
successful, but when the first show of the series came up it was 
a repeat of the pilot he was told he could not use the actors. 
The packager's office was disturbed about this directive but placed 
the blame on the advertising agency handling the show. 

The show ran for 13 weeks. During this period, the director 
hired people listed in Red Channels and others who were later 
blacklisted. This was in 1951. The same year, he did another show 
using two people who had been accused of "pro-Communist" 
sympathies. At a conference, an agency man gave him a copy of 
Red Channels and told him to be careful about hiring the people 
"listed" in it. But there was no attempt to fire the performers he 
had scheduled for the show. 

In the fall of 1951, the director returned to work for the same 
packager. Red Channels by this time was being taken more 
seriously no one "listed" in it could be hired. Final approval of 
casting lists had also been switched to the front office in order to 
insure that no one politically suspect would get on the air. At the 
very time that this was happening, an agency representative told J.R. 
that there was no blacklisting on his agency's shows. But when the 
director announced his intention of using a certain actor, the same 
agency man told him he could not because of "pressure." 

In the winter of 1952, J.R. found that the list of "unemploy- 

179 



ables" was expanding. Red Channels was no longer the sole source 
of information. Many people who were not listed in that book 
were nonetheless "unavailable" for work. 

The director even learned that accusations were being made 
against him. Some of the shows he had directed in the past were 
charged against him. Laurence Johnson intervened directly. John- 
son contacted the sponsor of one of the shows this director was 
working on. At first the company felt that the director was "de- 
fensible" and decided to ignore the charges. But later they 
changed their position and the director's future became doubtful. 

Earlier, J.R. had been offered a job at one of the major net- 
works. In view of his uncertain status, he decided to take it. The 
contract was signed in the spring of 1952. A loyalty oath was 
sent to J.R. and he signed it. But after this, he was called into the 
office of a network executive who confronted him with a series of 
charges. The director felt the executive was anticipating trouble. 
During one of their interviews, the executive pointed to Elia 
Kazan's ad in The New York Times repudiating his past political 
associations and told J.R.: "Well, that's one way." 

Shortly after these discussions, the director was fired. For a 
while, he continued to get phone calls about work, but the deals 
always fell through. 

For some time now, he has been unable to work in the industry 
under his own name. From time to time, he has helped in the 
preparation of shows but receives no credit and is personally paid 
by the producer. In 1951, the director's income from television was 
$35,000; in 1952, $12,000 for television and all other work; in 
1953, between $8,000 and $9,000. 

AN AGENT 

Miss K., an actors' agent, feels that one of the main problems is 
the psychological impact blacklisting has on her clients. Fear, she 
feels, produces uncertainty and inhibits the actor in his work. 

180 



Thus, even if she is finally able to place a blacklisted performer, 
psychological difficulties arise. 

There are often rumors about clients. The agency cannot track 
each of them down, but if they become persistent, the agent has 
to check to find out if her client is indeed blacklisted. This is 
done informally, through personal contacts, and the information 
given is rarely straightforward. Generally, Miss K. has nothing 
but hints and innuendos to go on. 

In some cases, a producer will call an agency and ask for a "star," 
describing the kind of person he wants. When no particular per- 
former is named, the agent can test a client's acceptability by sub- 
mitting his name. 

Miss K. has found a tendency on the part of some performers 
to claim they have been blacklisted when the real reason for their 
unemployability lies in lack of talent, advanced age, etc. In sev- 
eral cases, she has tried to help performers get a more realistic 
picture of their situation and has succeeded in convincing them that 
they are not blacklisted. 

The agent is willy-nilly involved in the problem of "clearance," 
Miss K. points out. If a client cannot work, the agent may check 
around to see what can be done for him. Miss K., for example, 
helped one actor get an engagement from a veterans group, and this 
ultimately facilitated his being cleared. She feels that her most 
important duty is to help her blacklisted clients weather their bad 
period without letting go of their artistic ambitions. 

RADIO WRITER 

Blacklisting, according to W.Z., a Communist sympathizer, is 
really an attack on New Deal values. During the period of the 
New Deal, W.Z. says, actors and writers, along with the whole 
entertainment world, were engaged in creative and "socially con- 
scious" work. Unions grew up. There was an alliance on the part 
of theatrical people with the "progressive" forces in society. This 

181 



continued throughout World War II, when the industry made a 
considerable contribution to the war effort. W.Z. claims that many 
have been blacklisted as a "punishment" for their activity in this 
"New Deal movement." He does not specifically mention Commu- 
nists as being among them. 

The motives of the pro-blacklisting faction, W.Z. holds, are 
union-busting, anti-New Dealism and reaction in general. In cer- 
tain cases, these motives are linked with racism anti-Semitism, 
and hostility against the Negro performer so that the blacklisting 
movement actually verges on fascism. Many of those who had 
once been on the side of the "progressive" forces capitulated and 
went over to Senator McCarthy when the national mood changed, 
W.Z. claims bitterly. 

However, W.Z. is fairly tolerant of the businessmen who actually 
run the industry. He feels that they are reacting out of confusion 
and a desire to retain their jobs and positions. They are not as 
reprehensible as the artists who have gone through "clearance" 
and now actively oppose "liberalism" and "democracy." W.Z. 
reserves his utmost scorn for those who have cleared themselves. 

Blacklisting, W.Z. insists, has crippled artistic inventiveness. 
The shows produced today do not have the "creative social con- 
science" they had before political screening got under way. Writers, 
producers, actors and directors no longer have general artistic 
discussions, he claims. "Political conformism" has entered every 
corner of the industry and made meaningful exchange impossible. 
Suspicion lurks in every office on Madison Avenue. 

W.Z. is pessimistic. He feels blacklisting will be brought to an 
end only when there is a massive political shift within the United 
States, i.e., when there is a general resurgence of the "progressive 
forces" which, according to him, pervaded the Thirties. Until this 
happens, W.Z. says, he will be blacklisted, though others, against 
whom the charges are not so extensive, may find their way back to 
work. W.Z. is convinced the threat to his personal values will 

182 



disappear only when it is possible for a show to go on the air with 
a whole group of people listed in Red Channels. 

W.Z. has been totally blacklisted for over four years. He had 
been a successful and well-paid employee of the industry and took 
an active part in union affairs. (His views, as might be expected, 
are a faithful recording of the official Communist Party line on 
blacklisting.) 

PRODUCER 

N.R. produced a series written by a man who was eventually 
listed in Red Channels. After Red Channels was published, protests 
came in, among them an angry one from an American Legion 
group. The sponsor was deeply upset. 

For a while, after Red Channels, there was chaos in the industry, 
N.R. says. Actors were turned down "almost at random." No 
reason was given. Some clearances did not come in until the 
very last minute in one case a "non-clearance" did not arrive 
until after the person had been on the air, and this precipitated a 
crisis. There was a feeling at the time, N.R. says, that there was 
no logic in what was happening. "It was out of Kafka." But after 
a time, things settled down. Procedures were worked out and 
blacklisting was run like a well-oiled machine. 

The production-office people would submit the casting list to 
a person at the agency whose identity they did not know. Some- 
time later, they would receive a phone call and the names would 
be read back with a "yes" or "no" check. Because of the problems 
involved in the "no's," the producers took the precaution of send- 
ing in many more names than they could use. In this way they 
hoped to assemble the full casts they needed. In the case of talented 
people they wanted to use, they would frequently re-submit names 
to see if things had changed. 

NBC, according to N.R., began with the most contradictory 
screening process. For a time, executives at the network simply 

183 



ignored calls dealing with blacklisting. Finally the network or- 
ganized its "screening" on a more stable basis. The job was 
given to the legal department. Now when a call comes hi from 
a production staff, a dossier, containing only derogatory informa- 
tion, is sent to the producer. If the charges are fairly foolish, it is 
possible to use the person, although this can be done only after 
consultation with an executive. The NBC legal department is 
willing to discuss its operation and can be convinced to take a 
chance. 

Some pro-blacklisting elements in the industry, N.R. believes, 
have become politicized to such an extent that they constitute a 
nuisance. They are forever circulating petitions, arguing, even 
checking on their co-workers. As a result, producers are reluctant 
to hire them. This, he emphasizes, is not because of their politics 
per se others who agree with them have no employment prob- 
lem but results from the manner in which they put forth their 
politics. Ironically, their militant crusade to screen "controversial" 
talent out of the industry has made them "controversial" themselves. 

AN ACTRESS 

Miss B. is the sister of a leading movie star. Her own career 
got under way in the late Forties. Before 1950, Miss B. was in 
demand on television. But during this period she was appearing 
on Broadway in a hit play and did not accept much outside work. 
She was generally considered a promising young actress. 

In the fall of 1950, Miss B. began to believe she was blacklisted. 
She made the Madison Avenue rounds, saw people, talked with her 
agents, but to no avail. She could find no work. At this time, she 
received a phone call from a friend who told her she had been black- 
listed. She checked with a writer working on a major television 
show. He also reported she was blacklisted, as did two producer 
friends. All of them assumed that she was "unemployable" on 
CBS shows. 

184 



Miss B.'s attempts to get in touch with various network people 
were futile. She was told, "He's not in," or her phone calls simply 
went unanswered. She contacted her agents but they could not 
suggest anything. Most of her advisers simply told her to wait 
until the whole thing blew over. 

The actress searched her memory to discover what might have 
led to her being blacklisted. She recalled she had agreed to sponsor 
the Waldorf Peace Conference. At the time the Conference was 
held, she was working in her first big Broadway play. She says she 
was flattered that anybody would want her name and that many 
of her friends were signing the letter of sponsorship, so she signed. 
During the same period, she was active in organizing opposition to 
a quiz show which featured young Broadway actors and actresses 
and paid them with $10 and a watch. Miss B. felt that the young 
performers were being exploited, and the talent union officers 
agreed with her. The protests were so effective, the program went 
off the air. She wondered if this, too, could have contributed to 
her being blacklisted as a "troublemaker." 

Soon after Miss B. learned she was blacklisted, she stopped 
working in order to have a baby. She did not look for work again 
until late in 1952 and then found she was still unable to get em- 
ployment on television. However, in February, 1953, she received 
a call for a movie part. She signed a contract and sent a letter to 
the studio which "explained" her sponsorship of the Waldorf Peace 
Conference and denied she was ever a member of a subversive 
organization. The studio was evidently satisfied, for she worked 
in two pictures that year. 

When Miss J5.'s first movie was released, there was considerable 
publicity. She appeared as a guest on a number of television shows 
but still failed to get an acting job on tv. In 1954, Miss B. went to 
Hollywood and made another movie. When she returned to New 
York, she made further attempts to find tv work, but they were 
fruitless. Finally, she decided to take the bull by the horns. She 

185 



made an appointment with Alfred Berry, "security officer" at CBS. 

In the conversation with Berry, the word "blacklist" was not 
used. They spoke of "unavailability." Berry talked to her about 
the need CBS had to protect itself. When Miss B. told him about 
her letter to the movie studio, he said he would check on it. 

At a later meeting, the actress was told that four items were held 
against her: she had sponsored the Waldorf Peace Conference; she 
was reported in the Daily Worker as having attended an American 
Labor Party ball; she was a sponsor of a pro-Communist meeting 
in Mexico City; and she had signed the Willie McGee petition. 
She asked what she could do to clear herself of these charges. 
Berry suggested that she see someone from the American Legion. 

Berry also suggested that she make some public anti-Communist 
statements and associate herself with a few anti-Communist 
"causes." She need not interpret this, he assured her, as meaning 
far right-wing groups. After this, Miss B. went to a prominent 
attorney. Under his direction, she wrote a letter "explaining" the 
associations which got her "in trouble." 

Miss B.'s efforts have had some success. She has appeared on 
sponsored television shows and her "explanations" have apparently 
been accepted. However, the most important period in her career 
was lost. At a point when she might rightfully have expected to 
land major roles, she was "unemployable" because of the four 
charges against her. 

AN ACTOR 

F.T. has played in several important movies. He also has a 
long background in radio, and worked on television in its early days. 
In the spring of 1952, F.T. finished a picture in Hollywood. Im- 
mediately after this, he was replaced in a forthcoming role by some- 
one else. He had a conversation with an executive at the studio 
who asked him pointblank, "Are you a Communist?" F.T. told the 
executive he wasn't. The executive then told the actor that the 

186 



American Legion Post #41 in Syracuse, New York, was "after" 
him. He mentioned a whole series of charges, and predicted a 
bleak prospect for future employment unless F.T. cleared himself. 

Back in New York, F.T. found a part in a Broadway play but 
got no television work. A friend of his who had been "in trouble" 
and cleared himself offered to put him in touch with George 
Sokolsky. The actor accepted the offer, but nothing came of it. 
Later some films he had made prior to getting in trouble were 
shown on television, and there were more attacks from Syracuse. 

During the next few years, F.T. could not work on television. 
Once, he was reading for a part with a CBS director when another 
director came in. The second director realized the mistake the 
first was making and told the actor he was "too good for the part." 
He was not hired. By this time, F.T. decided it was necessary to 
clear himself with CBS. He went, unannounced, to Daniel O'Shea's 
office, was directed to Alfred Berry, and discussed his problem 
there. 

Berry based the network's case against F.T. on charges found 
in Counterattack and the Firing Line. He mentioned the actor's 
work at an off-Broadway theatre, his appearance at the funeral of 
J. Edward Bromberg,* his signing the Willie McGee petition, and 
detailed a charge which the actor denied. When he was finally 
convinced that F.T. was not a Communist, Berry asked him for a 
"letter." He explained that the network had to have one on file in 
order to defend F.T. if pressure started again. 

F.T. said he was fearful of some of his off-Broadway connec- 
tions. Many blacklisted writers, actors and directors have taken to 
the off-Broadway stage. In some cases, association with people 
in these productions, or appearance in a play with a political line, 
has turned up later in a dossier or has been used as a charge in one 

* Bromberg, a prominent actor in both Hollywood and New York, was listed in 
Red Channels. 

187 



of the anti-Communist newsletters. Because of this, FT. now 
hesitates to take certain jobs. 

Even though F.T. does not appear on television, he had a 
major network radio role in 1955. His experience is similar to 
that of other blacklisted actors who have discovered that they can 
get a job on a radio show though they are barred from employment 
at the same network's television studios. However, at the present 
time, F.TVs income is far below his pre-1952 earnings and he has 
no immediate prospect of finding work. 

JOURNALIST 

One of the top journalists in the radio-television field gave his 
impressions of the blacklisting problem. This is how he saw it: 

To begin with, he said, one must understand the actor. Before 
the New Deal, actors were notoriously apathetic about politics. 
When they got "political" in the Thirties, they were naive and 
believed they could "sound off' with no consequences. Red Chan- 
nels, the journalist remarked, is a book listing the most gregarious 
people in the industry, the joiners, much more than it is a compila- 
tion of actual Communists. 

There was, he says, no Communist propaganda on radio and 
there is none on television. In the course of producing a script, it 
is checked for conformity to network policy, it goes through script 
editors, continuity acceptance, etc. Even during the war, there 
were people in the industry who were conscious of the Communist 
Party line and watched out for propaganda. Interestingly enough, 
he points out, many of the shows produced during the war with 
themes that would now be considered too hot to handle were 
initiated by the Advertising Council. 

The McCarran report on communism in the radio-tv unions, 
this journalist feels, completely oversimplified a complex situation. 
The actual Communist membership in the industry was always 
small; the real battle was between "conservatives" and "liberals." 

188 



He considers the Report a "pretty dirty piece of work" which 
omitted much of the information necessary to an understanding 
of the problem. He feels that some of those most vociferous in the 
industry in charging various people with "communism" are lacking 
in talent and have taken this means to express their frustration. 

CBS, he said, got into trouble because of its relatively low-budget 
operation. Unable to match the tremendous financial resources of 
NBC, CBS relied on "brains," specifically through an emphasis 
on documentaries and social themes. When radio-tv blacklisting 
began, CBS had the greatest number of people "in trouble" and, 
as a result, CBS set up the most drastic network security program. 

From the point of view of radio-tv columnists, the journalist 
said, blacklisting has been a frustrating story. Performers frequently 
come to newspaper columnists with accounts of their experiences, 
but then, almost to a man, demand anonymity. Because of this, 
the writer is unable to report their cases, and a situation which 
everyone hi the industry knows about, never gets a public airing. 

Finally, this journalist believes that the pressure is lifting some- 
what; a few sponsors and network shows have become more coura- 
geous, and the whole industry is simply becoming "bored" with 
blacklisting. Unless a new case comes along to make the argument 
for blacklisting more plausible, the practice has already reached its 
peak, he feels. 

AN ACTOR 

K.Y. is a top star in all the entertainment media. He learned 
indirectly that he was "in trouble" at the major networks and lead- 
ing advertising agencies and determined to do something about it. 
The "security officer" at CBS provided K.Y. with the list of 
"charges" against him which that network had on file. 

The following charges had been filed: 
1. He had been on the executive board of the Actors' Lab. (True. 

He was a member "very briefly.") 

189 



2. He had performed in a show sponsored by the Hollywood Inde- 
pendent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Profes- 
sions. (Absolutely false. K.Y. never heard of such a show. He 
checked the cast list for the show in Variety. His name did not 
appear. ) 

3. Identified by a government witness as having attended meetings 
of the same organization. (False. K.Y. never attended a meeting 
of the organization in his life.) 

4. Spoke for continuing 1945 movie strike and defended Herbert 
Sorrell. Prominent member of the Motion Picture Alliance for 
the Preservation of American Ideals was cited as authority. (Ab- 
solutely false. K.Y. was involved in a movement to end the 
strike.) 

5. Signed full-page ad against the Parnell Thomas investigation of 
Hollywood. (Absolutely false. K.Y. checked the ad. His name 
was not listed.) 

6. Not listed in Appendix IX. Name appears in Myron Pagan's Red 
Stars Over Hollywood. (K.Y. did not understand the reference. ) 

7. Participated in Thought Control Conference held by Hollywood 
Arts, Sciences and Professions Council in 1947. (Absolutely 
false. K.Y. took no part in the Conference and had nothing to 
do with the organization. ) 

K.Y. kept a diary: 

Sunday: Saw network head. He asked me to continue program into 
next season. 

Monday: Told I cannot be cleared by advertising agency. Show is in 
difficulty . . . Dinner with friends. They say they've known about 
the situation for two or three months but did not want to worry me. 
Told me some of the charges against me. 

Monday: (A week later) Show attacked in Hearst paper. 

Wednesday: Learned the name of the "clearance" man at the adver- 
tising agency. 

Thursday: Network gets nine calls about the show. Five are favorable; 

190 



four complaints. Program is described as "pink," "too much political 
innuendo," and "cleverly concealed Communist propaganda." First 
time any such comments have come in. Network and I both 
believe they are a direct result of the story in Hearst paper. 
Sunday: Show cannot get sponsor for next season. Negotiations for 
two other shows collapse completely. 

After K.Y., armed with his rebuttal, started to make the "clear- 
ance" rounds, he reported in his diary: 

Monday: Meeting with "clearance" man at advertising agency. He 
assures me that the agency does not consider me subversive. He 
will see what they can do about putting me on one of their "prestige" 
shows. These shows less susceptible to pressure groups. 

Tuesday: Meeting with executive at the "other" network. They made 
a check last summer and are satisfied that there is nothing to the 
charges against me. Executive suggested meeting with another 
agency "clearance" man . . . Still another agency "clearance" man 
called to say he had read my statement and checked with the top 
"clearance" man on Madison Avenue. They too are satisfied now. 
But one sponsor who supposedly uses Hartnett's services is still 
holding out. 

Wednesday: Met with an agency "clearance" man for a general dis- 
cussion of "the problem." No more trouble at that agency, he 
assures me. 

Thursday: Got an offer through the agency I visited yesterday. They've 
really had a change of heart. I was turned down for this very show 
not more than a month ago. 

Friday: Yet another agency "clearance" man wants a copy of my 
statement and answer to the charges. Guess I'm "clear" now. 



191 



Industry Viewpoints 



IN THE MAIL 

A DETAILED QUESTIONNAIRE* was sent to leading networks, spon- 
sors, advertising agencies and actors' agents. Many did not reply. 
The following statements represent a cross-section of the industry 
viewpoints elicited by the questions. 

We would never knowingly engage a Communist for any of our 
radio or television programs. Also, we would never knowingly engage 
anyone who aids either directly or indirectly the Communist cause. We 
carry out this policy in the employment of literally thousands of people 
in connection with our radio and television programs . . . 

From a statement of policy issued by the 

Procter and Gamble Company 

Our company would not, knowingly, lend aid or moral support to 
persons who subscribe to subversive teachings. Where subversive guilt 
is clearly established, we would have no hesitancy in refusing to hire 
the guilty party, but we would be running contrary to one of our 
country's most ancient and noble traditions i.e. that a person is inno- 
cent until proven guilty, if we, as a private concern, assume to set 
ourselves up as judge and jury and pass sentence on persons who sub- 
sequently might be proven innocent. 

From a policy statement issued by the 
Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company, Milwaukee 

We buy "Studio One" as a package from CBS through our agency, 
McCann-Erikson. These two businesses, as well as all of us at West- 



* See Appendix. 

192 



inghouse, have a great stake in our capitalistic society. It is therefore 
in our own best interests never to engage in any activities that would 
jeopardize the free enterprise system. 

Like any large corporation in America, we are interested in making 
sure we have no Communists or subversives on our programs. We 
expect CBS to screen as closely as possible to make certain we do not 
use anybody who has been proved to be Communistic or a Communist 
sympathizer. 

L. W. Scott, Advertising Manager, 

Consumer Products, 

Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa. 

We would not give employment to anyone who advocates the force- 
ful overthrow of the United States Government or conspires against it. 
We would not, of course, base our decision on unsupported charges 
from private sources, but we would heed the findings of authorized 
Government agencies. Thus, we would not knowingly employ, in any 
capacity, anyone who has been officially designated as subversive. This 
applies generally to our employment practices, and it is immaterial 
whether or not the applicant is in the entertainment field. 

C. J. Backstrand, President, 
Armstrong Cork Company, Lancaster, Pa. 

Our company takes an active interest in the selection of talent 
appearing on its radio and television shows, but, of course, depends 
heavily on its advertising agency to determine the qualifications and 
public acceptance of such talent. If our agency has no doubt about 
the talent to be used in a particular show, we usually concur in its 
recommendation. If there is doubt, we usually make an investigation 
on our own. If such talent is shown to be affiliated with the Communist 
Party, or an organization opposed to the Constitution of the United 
States, we simply do not employ or retain them. 

D. W. Stewart, Manager, 

Advertising Division, The Texas Company 
(Texaco Petroleum Products), New York 

We would certainly look with disfavor upon the appearance on a 
Dow program of any person so controversial as to place us in a ques- 
tionable light by association. Similarly, we would be displeased with 
any other action on the part of producers, such as the inclusion of 

193 



material in poor taste, which would be embarrassing to our company. 
Naturally also we would not wish to be party to giving aid and comfort 
to any known Communist, but would recognize that accusation and 
established evidence are two different things. 

Leland I. Doan, President, 

The Dow Chemical Company 

We have no policy as such in connection with the employment of 
artists for radio and tv programs sponsored by us ... The determination 
as to the employment of the artist is made on an individual basis . . . 
any answers to specific questions or general comment would be theoreti- 
cal. Frankly, we do not care to speculate on such matters. 

Anthony DeLorenzo, Director, 

Radio and TV Relations, 

General Motors Corp., Detroit 

Not merely in its radio and television advertising, but throughout its 
organization, Lever Brothers Company strives to secure the services of 
men and women of ability and good character. It is not merely a ques- 
tion of avoiding undesirable elements, it is much more a matter of 
choosing as its representatives the finest individuals possible. In this 
policy, Lever Brothers Company is motivated not only by a decent 
regard for public opinion, and by a desire to have its name remain 
unsullied, but even more by conviction that it is in business not only 
to make a profit but also to contribute its share to the common good. 
M. J. Roche, General Manager, 
Promotion and Advertising Service Division, 
Lever Brothers Company, New York City 

When a company such as ours uses its corporate funds to sponsor 
a program on television or radio, it does so with but one purpose, to 
reach the largest possible number of the public as its audience, and to 
present its product to that audience in the most favorable light . . . 
Since it is the function of an artist employed on such programs to 
please rather than to displease, and since the successful promotion of 
consumer goods depends in large measure on the impression left by 
sponsored entertainment, it follows that we would be wasting share- 
holders' funds were we to employ artists or other persons who, under 
company auspices, are likely to offend the public . . . We would dis- 

194 



approve of employing an artist whose conduct in any respect, "political" 
or otherwise, has made him or is likely to make him distasteful to the 
public. In making decisions pursuant to our policy, the fact that an 
artist has been listed in unsupported charges by private organs, or- 
ganizations or individuals does not govern our attitude toward his 
employment. 

Paul M. Hahn, President, 

The American Tobacco Company, New York 

While I have never heard it specifically outlined, I believe that any- 
one employed by us to represent Coca-Cola would, sub-consciously at 
least, be looked over to determine his fitness for the job. I am sure 
that the same is true of any other well-managed organization. 

Ability would naturally be the first consideration. After that, there 
would be many other factors, both tangible and intangible, which would 
determine the final decision. Whether or not the points mentioned 
would be of importance would probably boil down to a question of 
degree, and their relative importance in the over-all picture. 

In actual practice we buy our shows as a complete package and, con- 
sequently, we do not handle all of the many details from the Advertis- 
ing Department. For example, "Coke Time" with Eddie Fisher is 
contracted for through MCA by the D'Arcy Advertising Company, our 
agency, and we have no definite knowledge of all the intimate details 
which they might consider when making a show for us. 
E. G. Fritschel, 
Advertising Department, The Coca-Cola Company 

Here are my answers to your questions in chronological order: 

1. There have been frank and open admissions to me that certain of 
my clients are, for political reasons, unemployable. 

2. There are established procedures which can be followed to clear 
up the clients' problem; at least I have established procedures of 
my own. Employment criteria are fairly stable. There are generally 
accepted criteria of employment. 

3. a. In my opinion "blacklisting" has had a very definite effect on 

the industry, depriving it in many instances of fine talent. How- 
ever, if "blacklisting" is used as a standard of protection, then 
the same "discretion" relating to the employment of "Com- 
munists" should be applied to the equally harmful "Fascists". 

195 



With regard to political performance which is un-American, we 
have on the one hand Gerald L. K. Smith, a fascist, and on the 
other hand Paul Robeson, a Communist, 
b. The method of political screening is a farce. 

4. Inasmuch as my experience at one time as a propaganda analyst 
taught me the extent to which a cold war can be carried, I sincerely 
feel that a criterion other than competence must be applied. This 
refers particularly to the writer as an artist. Across my desk have 
come many innocuous-looking manuscripts and/or printed material 
which have proven to be "loaded." 

a. Yes. I would disapprove of the industry's employing an artist 
who was named un-American by a government agency. 

b. No. I would not disapprove of the industry's employing an 
artist who was an "unfriendly witness" before a governmental 
investigating body. 

c. No. I would not disapprove of the industry's employing an 
artist who stood upon the Fifth Amendment before such a body. 

d. No. I would not disapprove of the industry's employing an 
artist who has been listed in such private organs as Counter- 
attack, Red Channels, Firing Line. 

e. No. I would not disapprove of the industry's employing an 
artist who in the public mind, or at least before a goodly section 
of the public, is deemed "controversial." 

f. I would disapprove of the industry's employing an artist who 
had been proven disloyal by the Department of Justice or by 
similar government agencies. 

Briefly my attitude about the phenomenon to which you refer is: this 
'witch-hunting' is far from the democratic concepts of our founding 
fathers (the phrasing indicates the spirit in which I regard this). No 
industry, group, or individual unless duly authorized by the American 
people should be permitted to sit in judgment. I have had a great deal 
of experience in this particular phase of the entertainment industry. 
Dorothy Waring, Director, 
Waring Enterprises, New York City 

Any frank or open admission of blacklisting with regard to acting 
talent always stemmed from personal friends. While these admissions 
are frank they have never been open to the extent that they have ema- 

196 



nated from any established channel or formal procedure. When we 
have been told the facts it has always been in an informal, off-the-record 
manner so that we could know "what the score was." I have never 
physically seen any sort of blacklist utilized by any program. The situ- 
ation has arisen six or seven times in the 2V-2. years of our operation. 
While this may appear as a very small percentage there are the factors 
that these are the only times that we know about and that each time it 
has happened it has limited the work of the particular artist on a specific 
program for many months. 

To my knowledge there is no accepted or established procedure for 
removing talent from a "controversial" category. While one program 
might find an artist objectionable another program will not. The only 
partial answer I have discovered is in the securing of as much employ- 
ment in other than sensitive areas for the artist if possible. If this can 
be accomplished the restricted areas tend to become more lenient. At 
least at that point a talent buyer can make an effort to utilize the 
individual. 

I feel blacklisting tends to breed undue anxieties and nurtures a great 
amount of fear and insecurity amongst actors. The usual working con- 
dition of an actor in the present market is more of unemployment than 
employment. This is caused to a great degree by the obvious factor that 
the number of competent artists far outdistances the number of job 
opportunities. However, if an actor finds himself unemployed for more 
than a month he never really knows whether the inactivity is caused 
by the market condition itself, merely an unfortunate coincidence in 
not winning succeeding auditions, or blacklisting. Furthermore, in 
most instances it's extremely difficult if not entirely impossible for the 
actor to find out the precise cause for non-work. If unemployment per- 
sists there is a tendency on the part of many actors to go through a 
panic phase of being haunted by the suspicion that they have been 
blacklisted. If that happens to be the cause they rarely discover why 
they have been put on a blacklist which thereby prohibits them from 
work. 

I have discovered that artists have been placed on lists sometimes 
for as trivial a reason as a confusion in the spelling of his or her name, 
or an identical name of another person who was an out and out Com- 
munist. This situation hits the actors where it hurts most, economically 
as well as creatively. It keeps them under a constant threat of being 

197 



erroneously and of course secretly accused and judged of being "con- 
troversial." Many of them under these circumstances will grasp at any 
straw to get out of the "controversial" category. Therefore it leaves 
the door open to unscrupulous operators who will prey on this fear and 
utilize it to their own ends. I have even heard of attempts for payment 
from actors in order to get their names cleared. To my knowledge this 
procedure has never worked and is just short of blackmail. It also pre- 
sents the possibility of creating a situation whereby one actor will start 
spying on another actor. Therefore this whole area tends to weaken the 
morale of actors thereby dissipating the moral fabric of the entire 
industry. 

If to be a Communist means that the particular person in question 
is committed to advocate the overthrow of the government, I do not be- 
lieve that individual ought to be associated to any degree with any form 
of mass communications. However, the crux of the problem and the 
burning issue in radio and television is not whether to keep Communists 
on or off the air. I don't believe there is any question that any person 
who's pledged to the destruction of our country should be kept off the 
air. The real problem, however, is how to determine who is a Commu- 
nist. So far there has been no adequate solution to this problem. There 
is a vast difference between a person who dissents from a popular view 
and an individual who is disloyal to the public interest. I personally do 
not believe that any private organization or informal group of people 
should set themselves up as watchdogs of the community. It is much 
too easy for the overzealous and the overcautious to become lax with 
the lawful prerogatives of individuals. Too many of these supposed 
watchdogs solemnly preach the virtues of our government and soberly 
practice accusing and condeming without benefit of legal procedure. 
In my opinion there ought to be, first of all, a legal definition of what 
constitutes being a Communist. Then I believe that a procedure should 
be set up whereby the individual in question is confronted with the evi- 
dence and his accusers, and is able to defend himself according to the 
law, keeping in mind that this procedure should be of such a nature 
that the mere accusation that somebody might be "controversial" will 
not immediately condemn the individual by the public at large. I further 
believe that these criteria and procedures should be under federal super- 
vision. It seems to me that what must be eliminated is all of the 

198 



private and secret mumbo-jumbo that has been going on which in effect 
merely satisfies the personal interest and axes of a particular few. 

Henry C. Brown, 

Henry C. Brown, Inc. Agency, New York 

We are definitely not satisfied with the way the situation has been 
handled to date. We are, all of us, in this organization, acquainted with 
several performers who are unable to get work because of unfair listings 
or ill-advised affiliations in the distant past. My personal inclination is 
always to use these people, if possible. However, there is no denying 
the fact that if these performers or writers are well enough known to 
the public, and if they are controversial enough, they do stir up a hor- 
net's nest and it makes it terribly difficult for a packager to use them 
regardless of personal opinions. 

In the final analysis, I think the responsibility for clearance of this 
situation must rest with networks and, ultimately, the sponsors. If the 
sponsors would but be firm and refuse to allow a few smear letters to 
intimidate them, I believe the end result would be much more satisfac- 
tory than the maze of confusion which exists at the present. 
Jack Barry, 
Barry, Enright & Friendly, Inc., New York City 

As an advertising agency, it is our job to increase the sales of our 
clients' products and services, and to enhance their public acceptance. 
In the circumstances, it is our policy to refrain from employing anyone 
who we have reason to believe may embroil any of our clients in con- 
troversies of any kind, for any reason, or which will result in alienating 
any substantial section of the public. While what is controversial may 
differ from decade to decade, and even from year to year, we believe 
that our company policy will continue unchanged, namely, to present 
our clients' products and services in the most favorable light and to do 
nothing to incur the ill will of any substantial group of people. 
Robert F. Carney, 
Foote, Cone & Belding, New York City 

Your letter asking us some questions about practices in the entertain- 
ment industry presents a real problem. As an advertising agency, we 
act on behalf of clients, and in that relationship there is, as you can 
appreciate, a confidential element. 

199 



At the same time we recognize that there is a problem in the enter- 
tainment industry, and we would like to do anything we can to help 
solve it fairly and equitably. As far as the position of the agency itself 
is concerned, we have a policy. . . . However, you will understand that 
we cannot insist that any client follow our policy completely. Conse- 
quently, we have varying degrees of agreement with the execution of 
our policy among our various clients. 

Your question refers to "certain political criteria." The word 
"political," in the dictionary sense, means "of or pertaining to polity, or 
politics or the conduct of government." Under this definition, we would 
classify communism as a political belief. However, communism as a 
political party in the United States has been outlawed by national legis- 
lation and characterized as a conspiracy rather than a political party. 
We believe this was the result of the conspiratorial and unlawful 
methods of the Communists. And, consequently, we do not consider a 
belief in the Communist Party or in the Communist dogma as "political" 
in the usual sense in which this word is used in America. 

(a) We would disapprove of hiring an artist named as a Communist 
by a government agency, or 

(b) One who was an "unfriendly witness" before such a body (as- 
suming that this had some identification with communism) , or 

(c) One who stood on the Fifth Amendment before such a body 
(assuming again that this was in response to a question about Commu- 
nist affiliation). 

(d) We would not disapprove of hiring an artist merely because he 
has been listed in such private organs as Counterattack, Red Channels 
or Firing Line. 

(e) As to our attitude with respect to an artist "who in the public 
mind, or at least before a goodly section of the public, is deemed 
'controversial,' " of course it is necessary to define the meaning of the 
word "controversial." Almost anyone in the public eye can be contro- 
versial to some degree. Both we and our clients try to be reasonable in 
our definition. Since the purpose of sponsoring a radio-television pro- 
gram is to promote good will and increase sales, it is hardly possible to 
justify a program which provokes antagonism and loses sales. 

(f) As to any other category, there have been moral turpitude 
clauses in artists' contracts since the beginning of radio and television, 
as well as in other fields, and we, of course, would disapprove of hiring 

200 






any artist who has been involved in any situation which offends public 
decency or public morals, or is offensive to any race, creed or religion. 
In exercising our judgment as to such criteria, we naturally consult 
with the sponsor in any cases where we deem that such consultation 
is indicated. Otherwise, in those cases where the sponsor leaves this 
problem to us, we exercise our judgment entirely independently. 

(a) As stated above, we have our own criteria which we cannot 
insist that any sponsor follow. Sponsors, too, have their own criteria 
which are similar to our in varying degrees. Each case requires careful 
evaluation in the light of the criteria of the particular sponsor 
concerned. Some sponsors leave this problem to our judgment, and 
others take an active interest themselves. 

(b) It is impossible to say whether the employment of "contro- 
versial" personalities hurts the sale of products. We have no direct 
evidence either way. We would assume that the continued use of per- 
formers who antagonized large segments of the public would affect sales 
adversely. Of course, the whole basis of good public relations and the 
promotion of good will among the buying public is involved. 

We are not satisfied that, to date, a solution which combats the very 
real threat of communism and at the same time preserves the traditional 
American principles of fair play and justice to the individual has been 
found. Our belief on this score applies not only to the field of enter- 
tainment, but also to the problem in all areas. 

We think that the use of the criteria mentioned above is based on 
all three elements which you mention, i.e., 

(a) economic motives, 

(b) patriotic motives, and 

(c) fear of pressure groups. 
This agency also submitted the following statement: 

Our policy may be stated as follows: 

1. We shall not knowingly use or permit to be used, in connection 
with any advertising done by us, any material of any kind which 
in our opinion implies disloyalty to the government of the United 
States or its institutions, or which either in intent or in effect 
could reasonably be interpreted as subversive. 

2. Neither will we knowingly employ, or permit to be employed in 
connection with any of our advertising activities, any person who 
is a Communist or who by virtue of his association or affiliation 

201 



with known Communists or with activities known to be disloyal or 
subversive justifies the conclusion that he is disloyal. 

3. For the purpose of deciding whether we will hire or retain any 
individual, we will consider as adequate reason for disqualification 
(a) his own admission that he is a member of the Communist Party 
and/or disloyal to the Government of the United States; (b) a 
judicial determination of his membership in the Communist Party 
and/or disloyalty; (c) his refusal to answer, in a judicial proceeding 
or before any properly constituted governmental investigating body, 
relevant questions as to his membership in the Communist Party 
and/or his loyalty. 

4. In any case where an individual employed or about to be employed 
by us is accused or suspected of disloyalty, we shall make every 
attempt to determine the actual facts. We will not base an opinion 
on hearsay evidence or suspicion, but will undertake to determine 
as fairly as possible whether he is the kind of person whom we want 
to employ. We recognize clearly that we have no right whatever 
to pass judgment on the loyalty or disloyalty of any individual; all 
that we have the right to do is to determine whether, for whatever 
reason, we do or do not wish to employ the particular individual. 

5. As a corollary of the last statement we may say that it will be our 
policy not to join with any other person, firm or association in 
blacklisting any individual; and neither will we abrogate our right 
and our responsibility to make our own decision as to the hiring or 
not-hiring of any individual, and in making that decision we will 
not yield to pressure from any source. 

We feel that the protection and preservation of America, its govern- 
ment and its institutions, is not the exclusive concern of any individual, 
group of individuals, or organization. That is a responsibility of all 
right-thinking Americans, and we are fully prepared to shoulder our 
full share of that responsibility. 

We will always welcome information that is factual and constructive, 
and that will aid us in making the right decision whenever a decision 
is called for. But such information, from whatever source it may come, 
will not be permitted in any instance to be a substitute for our own in- 
dependent attempt to learn the truth. 

We are sure that we are quite as concerned as anyone else properly 
is with the dangers of Communist and subversive activities in this 

202 



country; and we are equally sure that all right-thinking Americans 
no less than we are concerned with the protection of loyal individuals 
against unsupported accusations. The preservation of our free Ameri- 
can institutions demands, as President Eisenhower has said, complete 
loyalty on the one hand, and protection against mere suspicion on the 
other. 

We wholeheartedly subscribe to that statement. And it is our hope 
that by recognizing that there are two equally important objectives to 
be attained the exposure and elimination of the disloyal and subver- 
sive, and the protection of the loyal that we and all others who are 
dedicated to the protection and preservation of America can all pro- 
ceed, with a minimum of rancor and name-calling, toward the accom- 
plishment of our common objectives. 

Spokesman for a leading advertising agency 
(Name withheld at agency's request) 

We believe we can give you our position in this statement we are 
against communism. 

We do not believe we would be acting in the best interests of the 
United States, our clients and our agency to employ Communists, and 
we have no intention of doing so. 

F. Strother Cary, Jr., 

Administrative Vice President, 

Leo Burnett Company, Inc., Chicago, Illinois 

Let me say first that I have no sympathy with the present-day 
American Communist. Americans today are, or should be, too well- 
informed to fall for the Soviet-inspired Communist line. Twenty, 
twenty-five years ago, this country was in a terrible mess and who 
could blame the people for feeling that perhaps this system of govern- 
ment did have some flaws after all? Not too much was known about 
communism then and the hunger and hopelessness of that sad era made 
a good seed-bed for its missionaries in this country. 

So I'm not sympathetic with a Communist today and I do not want 
him teaching in our schools or in any position of trust. Even more 
than I dislike Communists, do I dislike the "witch-hunters." ... I have 
nothing but contempt for anyone connected with any such activity. 
... I cannot say that I relish the idea of having too many Communists 
stowed away in positions where they might wield an influence on our 

203 



way of thinking, or, I should say, the way of thinking of the more 
susceptible elements of our society. But I certainly would not draw 
the line at a man just because he is "controversial." I can imagine that 
there are a number of independent-minded liberals among our popula- 
tion who are "controversial" without being Communist. 

Kay Conran, 

Artist Representative and Agent, New York City 

Blacklisting has created an unhealthy Kremlin-like pallor over show- 
business. A normal desire to shake Red influence in talent unions has 
been subverted by the other extremists into a witch-hunt. Un-American 
"shadowlands" have been created, permeating basic institutions. 

Political screening has been a failure simply because too many in- 
nocents have been caught up in the web without any means of redemp- 
tion, short of grovelling in the mud before self-appointed "patriots" 
whose influence is far in excess of their importance. Also, what is pink 
at one network is "clean" at another. Even shows on the same network 
vary and conflict. Some advertisers have a formal, though un-official, 
screening board. These boards will check every show talent list and 
ban performers who might very well have been cleared by an opposing 
show. The very un-Americanism of the blanket blacklist causes this 
confusion among sponsors of good-will but weak backbone. Sustaining 
shows are more courageous than sponsored shows. 
Robert Schultz, 
Robert Schultz Associates, New York City 

The radio and television programs in which we have been involved 
as sponsor have been so-called "packaged" programs where our partici- 
pation has been only to the extent of establishing story format and 
production standards. Except in instances where it involved a host or 
hostess or something of this nature, we have seldom been involved or 
even consulted in the matter of casting or employment. 

We, of course, would not knowingly give employment either directly 
or indirectly to a Communist or to anyone we considered to be un- 
American, or for that matter anyone that would be incompatible with 
good citizenship. 

We have made this policy known to those producing our shows and 
have relied on their judgment. It would seem to us that in considering 

204 



the other cases proposed in your letter, one could only reach a fair 
decision by taking each case individually and carefully weighing all the 
facts. 

John J. Oakson, Advertising Manager, 
Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, Missouri 

The public performer, whether in the theatre, concert, opera, radio, 
television or cinema, must observe an axiom of show business, which 
is not to engage in contentious non-conformism. He therefore must 
confine his opinions to the secret ballot. Active participation in politics, 
particularly politics out of public favor, is incompatible with his pro- 
fession and may destroy his power to make a living. Judgment of the 
performer's behavior is on a public relations level. Wherein merit may 
lie on any question is irrelevant. 

In a large agency of this sort, representing over 150 artists and 
attractions, the above axiom has a direct effect on the company's 
policy, and it avoids representing, as far as possible, any artists whose 
political activity might reflect on the company, its other artists, its 
clients, and so forth. 

We have no system of political screening and assume that all of our 
artists are worthy of representation until they prove otherwise. 
F. C. Schang, President, 
Columbia Artists Management, Inc. 

In a few cases we have been told, unofficially but frankly, by tele- 
vision producers that certain of our clients are unemployable due to 
the inclusion of their names in such publications as Red Channels, 
Counterattack and other "confidential" lists. 

We have been able to discover no method of clearing such clients 
for performance in radio or television but we have found that these 
performers are sometimes accepted on shows after having been rejected 
on other shows. In other words, we feel that employment criteria are 
not stable. 

We do not think that this "blacklisting" has had any profound effect 
on the producing end of the industry . . . except for the loss of self- 
respect on the part of the less courageous producers. We think that 
while some of the more informed and thoughtful segments of the public 
are contemptuous of the television and radio industry for allowing 
minority groups to dictate policy, in general the public is hardly aware 

205 



of the situation and not seriously interested in the many hardships that 
have been undergone by performers as a result. . . . 

While we would not favor the employment of a performer who was 
admittedly a card-carrying Communist or one designated as such after 
an impartial hearing by competent Government Agencies, we would 
not subscribe to the barring of a performer for any other reason except 
lack of competence. This does not apply to the employment of really 
controversial people, whether Fascist or Communist, in such sensitive 
positions as administrators, executives, producers or writers of tele- 
vision or radio shows. 

Walter Prude, 

Hurok Attractions, Inc., New York City 

Back in 1950, when Jean Muir was dropped from "The Aldrich 
Family," the case became one of the most celebrated firings in 
show-business history. Arthur Godfrey's personnel shakeups may 
have garnered more newspaper space in the years since, but they 
have drawn nowhere near the same intensity. Overnight, television 
critics turned into experts on law, due process and the state of 
Western civilization. 

The Muir affair created some strange journalistic bed-fellows. 
The Daily Worker thought the radio-tv industry should be ashamed 
of itself; so did Fortune. But the Worker would have been wise to 
keep its own counsel. Far from being a case of capitalist exploita- 
tion, the affair, if anything, was a clear demonstration of what 
might be expected of a "dictatorship of the proletariat." 

Ultimately, the issue at stake was whether the business corpora- 
tion is a political (as opposed to a simply economic) unit of society. 
Not that the battle was fought on that ground. Whether they said 
so or not, all the combatants, including General Foods, took for 
granted that they were dealing with a political problem and never 
questioned whether in doing so they were trespassing on forbidden 
grounds. 

Thirty years ago, Mary Parker Follett, who is sometimes called 
the mother of American management, wrote: 

206 



Oliver Sheldon says "Management acknowledges as master the pub- 
lic will of the community alone." I do not agree with that. The public 
will of a particular community may have to be educated to appreciate 
certain standards. That is exactly what is going to make business 
management a profession; to realize that it is responsible to something 
higher than the public will of the community, that its service to the 
public does not lie wholly in obeying the public. 

What does the management of General Foods Corporation have 
to do with the "public will," except as it applies to its taste for 
Jell-O as opposed to its taste for, say, Royal Gelatin Desserts? 
Everything, apparently. By any measure General Foods is big 
business. In sales it ranks 31 among all U. S. corporations. It em- 
ploys and therefore, to some extent, influences the lives of more than 
20,000 people, and it must keep some 60,000 stockholders happy. 
It is also as ingratiatingly eager to please as a St. Bernard. In 1954 
it bought $62 million worth of advertising and promotion to tout 
its several cereal, coffee, gelatin and other food products. Of this 
total, it entrusted $34 million to Young & Rubicam, the advertising 
agency on which it relies most heavily to stimulate a desire for 
General Foods products, and to create good will for the company. 

The reliance is mutual. General Foods' billings in 1954 accounted 
for nearly a fifth of Y & R's business. When Y & R expanded 
overseas it was hand in hand with General Foods own expansion. 
The ad agency, therefore, might well be particularly solicitous 
about, and sensitive to, the "public good will" its client engenders. 

In that phrase, "public good will," lies the crux of the matter. 
General Foods, as Fortune put it, "stood on its position that, as a 
controversial personality, (Miss Muir) must necessarily hinder 
rather than promote the sale of Jell-O via the Aldrich Family." 
Did this mean that people seeing Miss Muir would think that lime 
Jell-O tastes even less like lime than it does, or that Savarin coffee 
would ipso facto taste coffee-ier than does General Foods'? Clearly 
not. What was feared was that they would believe that General 

207 



Foods was acting, in the current jargon of "business statesmanship," 
like a "poor citizen," that it was deporting itself badly as a dis- 
tinctly political power. 

"The Jean Muir case," Fortune's Lewis Galantiere wrote, "has 
not actually drawn business into the swamp of ideological agitation 
in which government, science, the movies, and the teaching pro- 
fession have so long been mired. But it has confronted business 
with a public-relations issue that still remains to be clarified." 

In Hollywood there is no business like show business; up and 
down Madison Avenue there are plenty of businesses like show 
business. Unlike Hollywood, television cannot be isolated from 
American life. It is not a sample culture. TV is everywhere, it is 
pervasively of American culture. It is the American business civili- 
zation's image of what a business civilization should be, bought and 
paid for by hundreds of business organizations. 

The Muir case touched a nerve. It was at once the first and the 
classic instance of blacklisting in radio-tv. Each of the principals 
was as typical as any commentator could hope for. And they were 
all caught more or less unprepared. Unlike the scores of variations 
that have occurred since, the Muir affair spilled out into public 
where it could be seen and discussed. Official mutterings from all 
quarters, at first anyway, were unguarded, and surprisingly 
revealing. 

The one thread that ran through practically every comment on 
the case was a kind of frustration, the pent-up anger of a man who 
knows he has been wronged somehow but who cannot figure out 
just how. Was not General Foods free to hire or fire whomever 
it pleased? Was not Miss Muir paid in full for her contract? The 
answer is, yes, of course. But it is also a fact that the actress was 
done out of her career and had no recourse which would not 
threaten to play havoc with her personal integrity. 

Puzzle: find the villain. Counterattack and its supporters pro- 
test, in effect: "We didn't do anything. All we did was make her 

208 



record known." No one can question Counterattack's (or AWARE, 
Inc.'s, or Vincent Hartnett's or the Veterans Action Committee of 
Syracuse Super Markets') right to publicize the dossiers they keep. 
Mrs. Hester McCullough told The New York Times: "I think Gen- 
eral Foods should have been as respectful of Miss Muir's rights as 
they were of my rights in protesting." 

Which of Miss Muir's "rights" should General Foods have re- 
spected? Mrs. McCullough's right to protest does not derive from 
the corporate charter of General Foods; it derives from the Con- 
stitution of the United States. What "rights" in that sense did 
Jean Muir have? The "right" to keep her job on television? The 
"right" to continue on in her career? The power to do these things 
rested in the hands of General Foods and the National Broadcasting 
Company. It was for them to decide whether Miss Muir's "rights" 
were to have any meaning. In a word, General Foods was asked 
to do what it patently is incompetent to do it was asked to dis- 
pense legal justice. 

This the corporation could not do without involving itself and 
other corporations associated with it in a kind of parody of the 
law. The Muir case, at the very beginning of blacklisting, then, 
showed where the vacuum lay. A certain temperament and turn 
of mind were required to fill that vacuum and the people who have 
these qualifications comprise the jerry-built institution called black- 
listing which is now part and parcel of life on Madison Avenue. 

Here the problem is seen most clearly. If the American busi- 
nesses which together comprise the radio-tv industry are to assume 
the burdens of government, they must also assume responsibility 
for dispensing justice. They cannot have it both ways. They can- 
not argue on the one hand that economic considerations come be- 
fore all else, and, on the other, speak glowingly of the contribution 
"business statesmanship" is making to a business-oriented demo- 
cratic society. 



209 



Blacklisting and Broadway 



THERE is NO ORGANIZED BLACKLISTING on Broadway. A certain 
few performers have had difficulty finding work. These are people 
especially well known for their political associations; they have 
been so outspoken, so thoroughly "political" in their public life 
that they are persona non grata to large numbers of Americans. 
The normal criteria of personal choice including politics do 
operate, to some extent, in the legitimate theatre. Some producers 
may feel so strongly about left-wingers they are loath to hire them; 
other producers may be similarly prejudiced against right-wingers. 
But there are no" lists" which have universal force on Broadway. 
There are no "security officers." There are no "clearance" systems. 

The theatre is related to blacklisting indirectly, that is, a Broad- 
way performer's associations may be held against him in radio or 
television. Participation in certain left-wing theatrical groups may 
form an item in an actor's radio-tv dossier. But all the traditions of 
the Broadway theatre militate against political blacklisting, and by 
and large the theatre has lived according to those traditions. 

JOHN KENNEDY (producer) : "No one in the New York legiti- 
mate theatre is afraid of being picketed. There may have been 
some fear in the past, but it doesn't enter into decisions now." 

FRANCIS HIDDEN (actor's agent) : "No one I represent has ever 
been questioned about his political associations. There is no black- 
listing on Broadway." 

JAMES REILLY (executive secretary, League of New York Thea- 
tres) : "There are probably some actors a producer wouldn't want 

210 



to use for political reasons, but the matter is individual and per- 
sonal. There is no organized blacklisting." 

YIP HARBURG (song writer) : "There is no blacklisting on 
Broadway. Still, I couldn't do Tinian's Rainbow' again, because 
of its content. Sometimes a few benefit tickets might get turned 
in. But there is no real blacklist." 

REBECCA BROWNSTEIN (former attorney for Actors Equity As- 
sociation) : "In some cases there was an attempt at 'blacklisting' 
as it is called. But it was enough to phone the producer or mana- 
ger. That settled the question." 

ARTHUR MILLER (playwright) : "I take a very close, personal 
part in casting my shows. I have never been told who I can use 
or not use. I hire solely on the basis of competence. I would use 
a man who was in complete disagreement with me politically if he 
were right for the part." 

DOROTHY PARKER (playwright) : "I believe that there is no or- 
ganized or established blacklisting on Broadway." 

In August, 1955, the House Committee on Un-American Activi- 
ties held hearings on communism in the Broadway theatre. Twenty- 
three witnesses were called, and 22 of them turned out to be 
"unfriendly," invoking the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, 
Ninth, Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. In 
Hollywood or on Madison Avenue, actors that "unfriendly" could 
expect not to work again until such time as they "cleared" them- 
selves. But the Broadway performers who refused to cooperate 
with the Walter Committee simply went back to work. In one case, 
an actor who had invoked the Fifth Amendment had his contract 
torn up and was given a new one at higher pay and for a longer 
period of time. The actor was not being rewarded for his "unfriend- 
liness," he was being rewarded for his professional ability. And 
it is ability that still counts on Broadway. 

The experience of the 22 uncooperative witnesses in the New 

211 



York Theatre probe illustrates the tremendous difference between 
the legitimate stage, and the movies and radio-tv. The basic differ- 
ence between these media lies in the fact that the American legiti- 
mate theatre is the only entertainment medium still entrepreneurial 
in its methods of production. 

The production of a play is relatively cheap when compared to 
the cost of a movie or television show. As a result, the complex 
financial setup of Hollywood and Madison Avenue does not exist. 
Individual backers have to be convinced that a show has possibili- 
ties, and this is usually done through personal contact between a 
producer and his "angels." In 1955, Arthur Miller was unable to 
work in the movies or in radio-television. Yet it was easy to raise 
the money necessary to put his work on Broadway. For one thing, 
Miller is a highly successful playwright his shows have consist- 
ently made money and an investment in a Miller play is an 
uncommonly safe speculation. For another, the playwright's repu- 
tation is strong enough to insure a good box office sale even before 
his plays open. As a result, Miller has never been faced with any 
problems arising out of his highly controversial political views. 
On the contrary, Miller's problem is to decide which of his poten- 
tial backers to choose. 

Theatrical investors, as a general rule, do not care about the 
political associations of people who are to be hired. People like 
Margaret Webster, Harold Rome, Dorothy Parker, and Sam Jaffe, 
all listed in Red Channels, have been able to work in the theatre 
throughout a period of intensive blacklisting in movies and 
television. 

Yet such a situation could not exist were it not for the peculiar 
nature of the theatre audience in New York. The movie-goer or 
television viewer is a member of an impersonal mass, part of a 
vast cross-section, the nearest thing we have to the elusive "com- 
mon man." His attitudes and prejudices are something of a common 
denominator. Because of this, Hollywood and Madison Avenue 

212 



have to avoid certain themes and often feel called upon to shun 
the "controversial." The number of people who would actively 
boycott a movie on the basis of the political past of its writer or 
star is probably small, but nonetheless large enough to alert the 
businessmen responsible for a million-dollar picture. In the world 
of the Broadway theatre, the audience is significantly different. 

The New York Theatre relies on two major groups. One is 
composed of New Yorkers who are regular theatre-goers and 
these people would be the last to stay away from a play because 
they object to the politics of an actor. 

The other group comes from all over the United States. It is 
made up of tourists and travelers. This group is much more like 
the cross-section of America forming the movie and television 
audience. In their own home towns they well might object to a play 
written by someone named in Red Channels or accused of "pro- 
communism" by the American Legion. But in New York they are 
on holiday and are unlikely to be so discriminating. Broadway 
theatre tickets are hard to get, there are no grass-roots organizations 
of tourists, and the decision to buy a ticket takes place in a gala 
atmosphere. The political is simply not as important as it might be 
back home. 

How important the New York element is in explaining the ab- 
sence of blacklisting in the theatre can be seen from the experiences 
plays have had on the road. In the summer of 1955, Uta Hagen 
was under attack in Chicago. The year before Jean Arthur had 
been scheduled to appear in Chicago in "Saint Joan," but the run 
was cancelled due to a combination of American Legion pressure 
against another member of the cast and Miss Arthur's sickness. 
In 1951, an incident in Wilmington, Delaware, would probably 
have resulted in closing a play had it not been for concerted action 
on the part of Equity and The League of New York Theatres. And 
in two important cases, considerable pressure was brought to bear 
in Syracuse, New York. 

213 



The first case involved the Metropolitan Opera production of 
"Die Fledermaus." Jack Gilford, a comedian, had been hired by 
the Metropolitan to appear in a non-singing part. Gilford received 
considerable publicity since he was the first comedian to be hired 
by the tradition-bound opera company. Gilford performed without 
incident in New York City but when the opera went on the road 
a protest was unleashed in Syracuse. The source of this action was 
the Onondaga County Post #41 of the American Legion which 
works in close cooperation with Laurence Johnson. Gilford had 
been "listed" in Red Channels, and the Legionnaires demanded that 
the Metropolitan fire him. The opera company stood firm, how- 
ever, and Gilford was allowed to continue in the part. 

The other incident in Syracuse involved a theatre operated by 
Michael Ellis. When Ellis arrived in Syracuse to set up his produc- 
tions, the Legion group was protesting the showing of some Chaplin 
films and quickly turned its attention to the new theatre in town. 
A protest was made when Ellis announced that Albert Dekker was 
to appear in one of Ellis' productions. Dekker was withdrawn, but 
Ellis' venture remained under fire. When it was announced that 
Sylvia Sydney would appear in one of the plays Ellis scheduled, 
the pressure started up again. Box office sales fell off sharply, and 
Ellis was forced to abandon the whole venture. 

In general the few actors who have found it difficult to find 
work on Broadway are people so politically active that their "un- 
employability" is based on the fact that they are a nuisance to work 
with. Producers who are quite willing to hire actors "listed" in 
Red Channels or even those who refuse to cooperate with Congres- 
sional Committees, draw the line in cases where they feel a per- 
former is primarily a "political person" who also acts, rather than 
an actor who happens to take an interest in politics. But these 
cases are relatively few in number. The exclusion of such per- 
formers is not based on the existence of any kind of a "list." Paul 
Robeson is a good example. 

214 



One result of blacklisting was the growth of the off-Broadway 
theatre. Top talent became available at off-Broadway prices. In 
recent years, it has been possible to see well known performers 
like Morris Carnovsky, Sono Osato, Jack Gilford and Will Geer in 
the little theatres. More often than not, their shows have been 
non-political, although some "social" drama has been produced. 
There was "Sandhog" by Waldo Salt and Earl Robinson, and 
"Troublemakers" by George Bellak, but many more presentations 
of the theatre classics Shakespeare, Ibsen, Shaw and Chekhov. 
In the Communist Masses and Mainstream, Nathaniel Buchwald 
was quite critical of some aspects of this off -Broadway develop- 
ment, particularly of the failure of "social drama" to dominate: 
"In the off-Broadway movement," Buchwald wrote, "the poten- 
tially large progressive audience is yet to do its part." 

The off-Broadway movement has been an unforeseen and gener- 
ally welcome result of the blacklisting phenomenon. Still it raises 
another problem. Association with suspect actors, producers, 
directors or writers in off-Broadway productions can hurt the radio- 
tv chances of performers and writers. Laurence Johnson, for in- 
stance, charged a well-known actress with having appeared at an 
off-Broadway theatre which employed people accused of pro- 
communism. 

It is impossible to estimate the role of the intangibles in the 
theatre and equally impossible to omit them from a discussion of 
blacklisting. In Hollywood and in radio-television, artistic life has 
yet to create its own traditions. "There's no business like show 
business," the dedication to the individualistic, personal milieu of 
the stage, has been appropriated by the mass entertainment world. 
Yet on Madison Avenue it has no real roots. It is like the manager 
of a professional football team exhorting his players with college 
yells. But in the legitimate theatre, tradition still remains intact 
and functional. The agreement between Equity and the League of 

215 



New York Theatres, even though, it has had little practical value, 
expresses an attitude, and the attitude is probably more important 
than any complicated machinery of arbitration. 

Typical of this attitude was the remark of John Kennedy, a pro- 
ducer who has been active in Equity for many years. When asked 
to describe his personal politics, he said that he was a "liberal 
conservative or a conservative liberal." He made it absolutely 
clear that he loathed communism, at the same time he took a firm 
stand against blacklisting in the theatre. Kennedy typifies the 
"center" in Equity which has controlled the union throughout these 
stormy years. It is precisely the conservatism of the theatrical 
world which supports Equity's "liberal" anti-blacklisting stand. 

In and of itself, Equity's experience is noteworthy. It also serves 
to point up the contrast between Broadway and the mass media. 
For every element which has worked to keep blacklisting out of the 
Broadway theatre is absent in the mass media; conversely, it is 
exactly at those points where the movies and television are unlike 
the theatre that they are most susceptible to blacklisting pressure. 

The mass media are big business. Thus, the decision announced 
at the Waldorf Conference in 1947, which has formed the basis of 
blacklisting in Hollywood ever since, was not made by the people 
actually involved in the production of movies. It came, rather, 
from persons whose primary interest in the films is financial. This 
is in sharp contrast to the situation hi the legitimate theatre, where 
financial backing is still sought on an individual basis. An investor's 
enthusiasm for a particular play is still important on Broadway. 

The audience for movies and radio-tv is sharply differentiated 
from legitimate theatre audiences. In the first case, the audience 
is many removes from the producer. It is vast, impersonal. The 
legitimate theatre retains a select audience. It does not advertise 
in the same way as movies and radio-television. It makes its appeals 
on the basis of the judgment of a small group of critics in New York 
City. 

216 



In Hollywood and on Madison Avenue tradition is not an im- 
portant force. It is simply impossible to transfer the intimate tradi- 
tions of the theatre to the impersonal mass media. The movies and 
radio-tv capitulated to pressure almost as soon as it was applied. 
The theatre laid down a program to fight the pressure, primarily 
through the joint action of unions and management. 

In a way, it may well have been this element of tradition which 
worked to bring about a sane union situation in Equity. For the 
ideological mentality of the extreme right militates against the tra : 
dition of the theatre, just as the business structure of the movie 
industry is alien to that tradition. 

The proponents of blacklisting in the entertainment field are 
usually "conservative" in their economic views, tending in some 
instances (vide: the AWARE, Inc. students' meeting in February, 
1955) to Manchester laissez faire. Yet it is precisely the element 
of "bigness," of an un-Manchester economic power acting mono- 
lithically, which made blacklisting possible in the movies, radio 
and television. And it is the legitimate theatre, the most "free enter- 
prise" part of the entertainment world, which has resisted black- 
listing and has based its resistance on tradition and conservatism. 

The result is that the theatre has a better conscience: it is freer. 
The characteristic attitude of industry people in Hollywood or on 
Madison Avenue is compounded of fear and shame. The theatre 
people are proud that they have not succumbed. They are proud 
of their tradition and proud that they have lived by it, even during 
a period of great stress and assault. 



217 



APPENDIX 

Typical letter sent to Networks, Packagers, Advertising Agencies, 
Sponsors, Talent Agents 

Dear Sir: The Fund for the Republic is sponsoring a study of employ- 
ment practices in the entertainment industry. Rumors and charges of a 
political "blacklist," the publicity given the Jean Muir case, the publication 
of Red Channels and similar listings of "controversial" personalities in the 
entertainment field, among other things, prompted the officers of the Fund to 
initiate a full-scale study of the situation. A staff of journalists and re- 
searchers was assembled and has been working for several months. 

We are eager to produce as forthright and balanced a report as possible. 
It is in the interest of doing so that we are writing to you. Your cooperation 
would add greatly to the significance of the study. 

In the radio-television field it seems important that we present accurately 
the general position major networks [sponsors, advertising agencies, pack- 
agers] take with regard to the employment of artists. Such questions as 
the following seem to be pertinent: 

(1) Does your organization hold that certain political criteria should be 
met by artists whom you engage, i.e. would you disapprove of hiring 
an artist 

(a) named as a Communist by a Government agency? 

(b) one who was an "unfriendly witness" before a governmental 
investigating body? 

(c) one who stood on the Fifth Amendment before such a body? 

(d) one who has been listed in such private organs as Counterattack, 
Red Channels, Firing Line? 

(e) an artist who in the public mind, or at least before a goodly 
section of the public, is deemed "controversial"? 

(f ) any other category? 

(2) If such criteria are to be met, does your organization [if sponsor] 
leave the application of them to the advertising agency and the net- 
work or do you take an active interest? 

(3) Is it your experience that the employment of "controversial" per- 
sonalities hurts the sale of products? 

(4) Are you satisfied with the way the question has been handled to date? 
Aside from specific answers to these questions we would be very grateful 

for any other comments on what is surely a difficult and admittedly a deli- 
cate situation. 

JOHN COGLEY 

218 



Letter from Assistant United States Attorney General 
William F. Tompkins: 

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 11, 1955, to the 
Attorney General, with respect to the so-called Attorney General's list. The 
replies to your questions are set forth numerically below. 

(What is the standing, in law, of the Attorney General's list?) 

1. The so-called Attorney General's list is compiled at the direction of the 
President as contained in Executive Order 10450 relating to the Federal 
Employee Security Program. The list is for the guidance of the heads of 
the Federal executive departments and agencies for use in connection with 
requests for investigation regarding employment or retention in employment 
of Federal employees. Its content becomes public information because it is 
published in the Federal Register. 

(In the policy of your office, is membership in an organization on the 
List considered proof of subversion?) 

2. The nature and extent of membership in a designated organization is 
but one factor to be considered in determining the qualifications of individ- 
uals for employment or retention in employment with the Federal 
Government. 

(Is use of the list by private individuals authorized by your office?) 

3. The Attorney General's list is issued solely for the purpose of apprizing 
the heads of executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government 
of the names of organizations, membership in which would warrant request- 
ing a full field investigation in connection with the Federal Employee Security 
Program. The list necessarily enters the public domain upon its publication 
but this Department has no authority to permit its adoption for purposes 
other than that for which it is made. 

(Is there any official determination by the Government that certain indi- 
viduals are Communists? If so, which agencies make such a determination?) 

4. No official compilation of Communists is maintained by the Executive 
Branch of the Government. 

Title I of the Internal Security Act of 1950 requires the registration of 
members of a Communist-action organization under prescribed conditions 
and imposes certain sanctions upon such members. Upon the failure of the 
organization to register its membership and upon the failure of the individual 
to register himself, the Act provides that the Attorney General may petition 
the Subversive Activities Control Board for an order to compel such 
registration. 

219 



The Board has determined the Communist Party of the United States of 
America to be a Communist-action organization. However, under the Act 
no action against individuals can be undertaken until the Party has exhausted 
its appellate remedies. No voluntary registrations have been made. 

(Is the statement of a Congressional Committee that an individual 
is a Communist considered an official statement of the United States 
Government?) 

5. The statement of a Congressional committee that a citizen is a Com- 
munist is not considered as an official statement of the United States Govern- 
ment. It is a statement of a committee of the legislative branch of the 
Government, and we can express no opinion upon the authority of one 
committee to speak officially for the Congress. It certainly is not an official 
statement of the executive branch of the Government. 



220 



ANTI-COMMUNISM AND EMPLOYMENT POLICIES 
IN RADIO AND TELEVISION 

by MARIE JAHODA 

Research Center for Human Relations 
New York University 



ACKNOWLEDGMENT 

This study was conducted at the Research Center for Human Relations 
whose entire staff contributed at various occasions to its content. Particular 
thanks are due to Mr. Gerald Hogue who was in charge of the field work for 
the morale survey and cooperated in the development of the interview sched- 
ule. In addition, Drs. Stuart W. Cook, Isidor Chein and Eva Rosenfeld 
helped in the planning stages and throughout the conduct of the study. 
Thanks are due all persons who permitted themselves to be interviewed or to 
discuss the complicated problems of the industry with the author. It is an 
unfortunate symptom of the climate of the times that they cannot here be 
identified by name. 

The study was done at the initiation of the Fund for the Republic and with 
a grant from it. Thanks are due to this foundation for its consistent effort, 
here and in other matters, to bring rational considerations to bear on the 
controversial issues of our time. 

M.J. 
December, 1955 



221 



National Security, the Climate of Opinion 
and the Entertainment Industry 

During the last few years the grave problem of internal security has 
been a central concern for many persons of very diverse views and 
values. In particular, governmental measures designed to ensure that no 
subversive elements be retained in government service have given rise 
to a heated national debate which at times threatened to submerge in- 
terest in all other national and international issues confronting the coun- 
try. Gradually, the exchange of accusations and counter-accusations 
has begun to subside, and is giving way to a more rational approach to 
the problem of security. There is by now widespread agreement among 
unquestionably loyal citizens of the country that ways and means must 
be found to avoid the excesses of the recent past without endangering 
national security. A presidential committee has been appointed to re- 
view and suggest revisions of governmental security procedures; the 
stand which courageous individuals of both major political parties have 
taken on the unintended and undesirable consequences of security pro- 
cedures has had its impact on the climate of thought in the country. 

But the impetus of earlier excesses has not yet been spent. And many 
fear that a slight reversal in the international situation or the unforesee- 
able symptoms of the political fever ordinarily produced in a major 
election campaign may throw us back where we were a little while ago. 
This, then, is a crucial and perhaps short period in which the climate 
of thought can be rationally assessed and discussed. 

It is of particular importance that the unanticipated consequences of 
governmental security procedures be brought into full light. They are 
easily overlooked in periods of crisis. There are two such consequences 
which have especially affected the climate and policies in organizations 
and industries outside the government. 

One stems from what is perhaps the most difficult issue in the gov- 
ernmental security procedures: the vagueness of the criteria for identi- 
fying an untrustworthy person in government service before that person 
has done harm to his country. The problem and the consequences of 
handling it in the current fashion have been described elsewhere in the 
following terms:* 

* Ideological Compliance as a Social-Psychological Process, by Marie Jahoda and 
Stuart W. Cook, in Totalitarianism, Carl J. Friedrich, ed., Harvard University Press, 
1954. 

222 



"Is every Communist a potential spy or saboteur? Is every student of 
Marx a danger to the security of the country? Is every member of an organi- 
zation which includes Communists to be distrusted? How should the internal 
enemy be identified? By oath? By his reading habits? By views which are 
shared by Communists? By his associations? 

"The answers to these questions are not easy. The Federal Bureau of 
Investigation collects all information which might possibly be relevant to 
the appraisal of individual cases. Since government investigators are asking 
questions about membership in all kinds of organizations, about political 
views and opinions on various social problems, about interests and reading 
matter and other items of the kind, the impression has been created that to 
credit somebody with an active organizational life, with unorthodox or even 
only outspoken views on public affairs, with extensive reading habits, and so 
forth, is a disservice to him. The thought naturally arises that if such things 
are asked about, in the eyes of the government they must be questionable. 
There is only a brief step from feeling that it is not wise to describe one's 
friends in this way, to the conclusion that it is not wise to have such activities 
to one's own credit. 

"A variety of self-appointed individuals and groups have taken the next 
step in the process. Though having no official connection with the machinery 
through which national security is protected, and perhaps not always moti- 
vated by a concern for national security, they publicly call attention to the 
records of individuals who deviate from their standards of acceptable 
behavior. What they emphasize is quite similar to the areas checked upon 
by official investigators; the important difference is that, whereas the official 
investigations are confidential, the unofficial ones are broadcast as widely as 
possible. Such publicity makes the pressure to conform, of course, much 
stronger. One is in constant danger of public exposure as an individual 
associated with activities about which questions are asked. 

"The final increment is supplied by employers. Advertisers, businessmen, 
school authorities, movie producers, all hesitate to hire or retain employees 
thus singled out, since this may offend some client, customer, or patron." 

Thus, the original idea of protecting the national security by collect- 
ing circumstantial evidence in many directions, to be appraised in toto 
and in conjunction with other data in order to see whether all evidence 
converges to justifying strong suspicion, has given way to regarding a 
few items of information, and often only one, as proof of an employee's 
undesirability in an organization which may have no possible connec- 
tion with matters affecting national security. 

The other consequence of current governmental procedures is that 
outside the government the motivation behind these procedures has 

223 



been obscured and often replaced by new motivations. The govern- 
mental measures aimed at protecting national security against a potential 
internal enemy. Even within the government, many federal employees 
felt that other motivations were involved in the application of the secu- 
rity procedures.* Outside the government there seems to have occurred 
a much more radical change in motivation for what, with little apparent 
justification, is often still referred to as security procedures. When, for 
example, tenants in public housing projects are asked to sign a loyalty 
oath, the security implication is not obvious. Nor is it clear how the 
security of the nation will be strengthened if books written by suspected 
authors are removed from library shelves, or teachers against whose 
teaching there is no complaint, are made unemployed and even unem- 
ployable because they claimed the protection of the Fifth Amendment 
to the Constitution. 

The new motivation is rarely made explicit. Judging by the nation- 
wide debate on the subject it appears as if the purposes behind many 
private so-called security measures cover a wide range: some persons 
wish to eliminate Communist ideas; others want to eliminate persons 
proven or suspected of being Communists or fellow-travelers from all 
walks of life either because they fear that a fair proportion of the 
income of such people will be given to the Communist Party or because 
they want to punish such people for their convictions; still others seem 
to be seeking revenge for their own or other people's earlier gullibility. 
And some persons suggest that even more naked self-interest in terms 
of wishes for personal power or financial gain plays a role in the 
motivation of many private organizations and individuals who have set 
themselves up as judges over other people's beliefs and ideas. 

Different persons will, of course, have different judgments on the 
"goodness" of the motivations in this array. In any case, there is a 
common denominator to these motives in that they have little, if any, 
bearing on the security issue even though they have undoubtedly come 
to the fore because of the nation's concern with problems of internal 
security. The relevant aspects of the climate of opinion in the country 
consequently tend to be less concerned with security considerations 
than with ideological purity; and this concern, reflecting the diversity 



* Some evidence of the range of suspected motivations is given in "Security Meas- 
ures and Freedom of Thought," by Marie Jahoda and Stuart W. Cook, Yale Law 
Journal, March, 1952. 

224 



of motivations, is confused and confounded by the absence of generally 
accepted criteria for identifying the impure. 

The radio and television industry is particularly sensitive, in every 
respect, to the country's climate of opinion. This is hardly surprising 
since the financial structure of the industry is bound up with public 
favor. Many millions of dollars are spent by sponsors on radio and 
television in order to impress an audience whose responses to these 
media cannot be immediately observed. The enormous size of the 
audience makes it understandable that the industry is much concerned 
with broad currents of public opinion; the anonymity of the audience 
makes it understandable that the various devices to gauge the popularity 
of a program are taken as yardsticks of success. But most policy makers 
are fully aware that appraisals of public opinion are precarious and that 
rating devices do not fully penetrate behind the anonymity of the audi- 
ence. In this situation, any spontaneous communication from members 
of the audience by mail or telephone assumes considerable importance. 

On all levels of the industry, from the actor who gets one or two 
minor parts a year to top level performers and top level executives of 
networks, advertising agencies, packaging firms and sponsors, stories 
abound about the elation occasioned by a handful of favorable mail from 
the public, and the depression resulting from a similarly small number 
of critical communications. To be sure, people concerned with enter- 
tainment may be occupationally more alert than most to appreciate a 
good story when it comes along, and this may have resulted in an exag- 
geration of the importance attached to spontaneous audience response. 
However, the elaborate process of control and revision through which a 
prospective program has to pass before it goes on the air gives some 
measure of the degree to which public favor, or at least absence of 
public disfavor, is a major prize for which the industry strives. 

Stripped to bare essentials, the assumptions underlying the effort not 
to offend the audience can be presented as follows: It is as if the shop- 
ping process of the American housewife proceeded in the following 
fashion: (1) she watches a television show sponsored, for example, by 
a toothpaste firm; (2) when she next finds herself in a drugstore ready 
to buy a toothpaste she consciously or unconsciously recalls to mind not 
only the name of the product and the promises contained hi the com- 
mercial, but the entire show, her liking for or boredom with it, and all 
she knows about individual performers on it; and (3) she then decides, 

225 



in the light of such appraisal, whether or not to try the brand. Top 
executives, confronted with this hypothetical schema and the psycho- 
logical unlikelihood that shopping actually proceeds in this fashion, 
answer, as a rule, that there is no definitive evidence that such cases do 
not occur and, since they can entertain the public without taking risks, 
the sensible course is to avoid them. 

The assumption that an individual housewife regards shopping as a 
conscious and purposeful political act was deliberately formulated in 
an extreme fashion in discussions with leaders of the industry so as to 
test the limits of the industry's concern with political matters. It has 
been pointed out, however, that the problem confronting the industry 
is more complicated and their concern more rational than this extreme 
formulation suggests. For even if it were generally agreed that the indi- 
vidual housewife is innocent of all political considerations in her shop- 
ping act, the sponsor's business is dependent not only on individual 
housewives but, and perhaps more directly, on the middleman, the 
retailer, managers or buyers who decide to give one brand preference 
over another. This is a much smaller group of persons; a group un- 
doubtedly much better informed about business policies, and a group 
which because of its small size and clearly defined position can 
perhaps be much more easily reached and influenced by pressure 
groups. Not to antagonize these middlemen is an understandable 
rational desire on the part of the industry. 

It would be wrong, however, to assume that these limitations inevi- 
tably imposed by the financial structure of the industry are so severe 
that no other considerations enter into the formulation of policy. Not 
only are most responsible people concerned with the quality of enter- 
tainment, but as network executives have pointed out controversies 
of various kinds are actually presented on the air. Within the last year 
or two, the nation-wide controversy about the manner in which internal 
security problems are handled by certain individuals, committees and 
groups has found its place in radio and television; a few commentators 
can look back on an even longer record of dealing on the air with this 
most controversial issue. What controversies are treated by radio and 
television, and at what time, must of course be decided by general 
policy decisions. The issue then becomes one of drawing the line, 
which here as everywhere else hardly ever separates black and 
white but different shades of grey. 

226 



Not only with regard to content but also in questions of employment 
policy, with which this report is mainly concerned, the limitations 
imposed by the financial structure of the industry require complicated 
and immensely difficult policy decisions. In this area it is hardly sur- 
prising to see the entertainment industry with its sensitivity to the 
climate of opinion, its concern for public favor, its wish to avoid prov- 
ocation of pressure groups, and its existing machinery for barring from 
the air anything assumed to be detrimental to the business purposes of 
the industry becoming enmeshed in a variety of procedures, com- 
monly referred to as "blacklisting'*, which reflect the developments 
initiated by the country's concern with internal security. It is the pur- 
pose of the present study to explore what these practices mean within 
the industry. 

Scope and Purpose of this Study 

The exploration of the role of "blacklisting" within the entertainment 
industry can, of course, take various directions. A number of them are 
pursued in other sections of the larger inquiry of which this study forms 
a part. The focus here is on the climate of opinion within radio and 
television with regard to "blacklisting"; it is a study of certain aspects 
of morale. 

The study proceeded in three major steps. It began with a general 
period of exploration of the work situation in the industry. This in- 
cluded a study of what is available in the literature, the technical pub- 
lications of the industry especially Variety and publications such as 
Counterattack, Red Channels, The Firing Line (published by the 
National Americanism Committee of the American Legion), Aware, 
Inc.; also the files available on the subject at the American Civil Lib- 
erties Union, including reports on cases of alleged "blacklisting", and 
relevant clippings from the daily press on a nation-wide basis over 
several years, reports of Congressional Committees, etc. During this 
first orientation period prolonged discussions and interviews were held 
with 24 experts in the field of radio and television and related research 
areas. Among them were four psychologists, one psychiatrist, two 
sociologists, one lawyer, two critics; but mostly top level commentators, 
actors and writers for the industry, who knew the field not simply as 
interested observers but from daily experience. 

The second step consisted of an interview survey with persons cur- 

227 



rently employed in the industry.* The first half of the interview was 
concerned with a series of questions about the industry in general, the 
satisfactions and frustrations it offered to the person interviewed, his 
current activities and his hopes for the future, his views of human rela- 
tions in general among personnel in the industry, and the like. Then 
the interview turned to the problem of "blacklisting", eliciting the 
person's beliefs about the factual situation, his feelings about it, his 
approval or disapproval of what he saw as the facts, his knowledge 
about procedures used in implementing policies designed to exclude 
alleged Communists, his assumptions about the motivation for such 
procedures, the adjustment that he himself and others around him had 
made to the situation, and so on. The final phase of the interview asked 
the respondent to relate the problems of the industry in general which 
he had discussed in the first half of the interview to the problem of 
"blacklisting". 

The third step consisted of a small number of interviews with policy 
makers in networks, advertising agencies and packaging firms. The 
purpose of these interviews was to acquaint leaders in the industry with 
the picture obtained from step two, to elicit their comments on this 
picture and to discuss with them possible ways of improving the situa- 
tion. The expectation that no industry, let alone one as sensitive to 
public opinion as the entertainment industry, could remain impervious 
to public opinion within its own ranks, was by and large confirmed. 
Some necessary qualifications of this statement will emerge later on. 

Altogether, in the three steps of the study about one hundred and 
twenty interviews were conducted. For the morale survey experienced 
interviewers, most of whom had some familiarity with radio and tele- 
vision, were specially trained for the task. 

For reasons that have to do with the structure of the television and 
radio industry, statements reporting the statistics of the returns in 
sample surveys of the views of its employees are subject to special 
qualifications. Ordinarily, a survey is based on data of a sample selected 
so as to be representative of the entire population in which one is inter- 
ested. The prerequisite for drawing such a sample is that a complete 
list be available or that, at least, the population be definable in some 
precise way. This prerequisite cannot be satisfied for radio and tele- 



* A copy of the interview schedule will be found in the Appendix, together with 
summaries of the answers received to the individual questions. 

228 



vision in New York City. Employee lists from networks, even if they 
could have been obtained, would be of little help. Many persons work 
for several networks; others are employed not by networks but by 
advertising agencies or packagers. Still others, particularly writers, work 
on a free-lance basis, with or without the help of an agent. Figures 
from the unions, if they could have been obtained, would not have pro- 
vided a sound base because, while the profession is 100% unionized, 
many persons maintain membership in the union even though they have 
not been employed for a year or more, or their employment was re- 
stricted to one or two appearances during a year. Thus, it is virtually 
impossible (unless one wanted to make this in itself a major focus of 
study) to say how many persons work in the industry in New York 
City, to say nothing of who they are, and hence, what kind of sample 
would truly represent the views and values of the industry's personnel. 
Nevertheless, particular care was taken in selecting persons to be 
included in the morale survey (step two of the study), not because we 
were aiming for precise numerical estimates, but in order to minimize 
the possibility of bias in selection.* It should be noted that special pre- 



* Lists of about 6000 names were available from several sources: Ross Reports 
on Television, The Radio Annual Television Yearbook, 1954, the Players' Guide, 
Exchange. By arbitrary decision, every wth name was selected from these lists and 
and the listings of the Hayes Registry, Radio Registry, and Radio Artists Telephone 
checked as to its suitability for the general sample plan. This plan contained the 
following specifications: a third of the sample was to be drawn from persons 
oriented primarily to radio and two-thirds from persons oriented primarily to 
television. Within each group three types of activities should be represented: talent; 
producers and directors; and writers, news analysts, and commentators. Within 
these activity groups persons on various levels of success (top level, medium and 
low) should be included. If a person selected from the list did not fit the sample 
plan, the immediately following name which fitted the prescribed requirement was 
substituted. The level of success was determined in consultation with the organi- 
zation publishing the Ross Reports where a corresponding classification of industry 
personnel is independently done. The same substitution procedure was followed 
in 25 cases where selected respondents refused to cooperate, most of them pleading 
pressure of time, a few lack of interest. It should be noted that almost 30% of the 
individuals approached declined to be interviewed. This is an additional reason for 
taking numerical results with caution. To be sure, there was no mention of "black- 
listing" in the first contact made with the respondent by phone, nor in the letter 
introducing the interviewer (the text of the letter is given in the appendix), but we 
do not know whether there might be systematic differences between the kind of 
people who are and those who are not willing to be interviewed on the subject of 
satisfactions and dissatisfactions of working in the entertaniment industry. 

229 



cautions were taken to interview only persons who were currently 
employed; that means persons who were not "blacklisted." This is 
important for the interpretation of the data: what they told the inter- 
viewers about blacklisting procedures is not based on direct personal 
experience, but on their beliefs and opinions formed on the basis of 
what they heard from others. This report is not concerned with factual 
procedures; it is limited to the psychological field. 

The sample for the morale survey consists of 64 respondents. Twenty- 
three are in radio (though half of them also have some experience with 
television); 41 are in television, either "live" or "film". Twenty re- 
spondents are top level, 23 medium, and 21 low or marginal. In terms 
of activity, the sample includes 23 talent, 20 producers and directors, 
and 21 writers, news analysts, or commentators. These three categories 
of persons will be referred to in the report collectively as talent, i.e., as 
persons whose main job consists of shaping or presenting creatively 
what goes over the air. This choice of words may not be ideal. The 
word employee, however, could easily be misunderstood to embrace 
also managerial, technical and office personnel who are not represented 
in the survey; furthermore, some persons are included in the survey 
who are not employees in the sense of receiving regular specified wages. 
It is a sign of the youth of the industry that it has not yet developed a 
generally accepted terminology. 



The Employment Situation of Talent: An Aspect of Morale 

Morale is a complex response to a complex situation in every industry. 
Morale among talent in radio and television is for a number of reasons 
even more complex than elsewhere. 

Both media, but in particular television with its meteoric rise, are 
moulders and symbols of our cultural climate. More immediately but 
also more fleetingly than media which create lasting records do they 
penetrate into virtually every American home. The size of their audi- 
ence is unparalleled. As is so often the case, technical and commercial 
inventiveness are far ahead of our social and psychological knowledge 
about the manner in which these media influence the quality of living 
of our people. Do they enrich or impoverish? Do they encourage 
diversity or are they conducive to conformity? Do they spread ideas 
and stimulate thought, or do they dull the imagination? Do they accom- 

230 



plish some of these things in certain respects or in certain people and 
their opposites in others? 

No one is yet in a position to answer these questions on the basis of 
rational appraisal. But the questions are in the air. They are asked 
not only by detached observers but in various forms by every thinking 
person in the field. Their very existence illustrates the spirit of excite- 
ment and pioneering which pervades the entire industry. There can be 
no doubt that this spirit itself has a significant bearing on the morale of 
all personnel in radio and television. 

It would be presumptuous to deal here with these and other broad 
aspects of morale. On the other hand, it would be foolish to talk about 
"blacklisting" as if it could be viewed in isolation from other facets of 
the industry which exhilarate or depress, gratify or annoy its talent. To 
provide the proper context we will deal with a limited aspect of morale 
only: the employment situation as it is experienced by the talent of the 
industry. No claim can be made that even this much more limited field 
is comprehensively explored. Rather, we have selected a few aspects 
which appear to us to form an indispensable background for understand- 
ing the views of talent on the primary subject matter of this report. 

Undoubtedly the economic situation is of great importance, par- 
ticularly the labor market. In discussions of this topic, one phrase 
recurred again and again: in radio and television there are at least ten 
candidates for every job to be filled. There is no way of knowing how 
accurate this alleged proportion is. For all we know, it may be five to 
one or it may be twenty to one or some other ratio. But the accuracy of 
the estimate is negligible compared to the unanimity of the belief that 
there is a virtually inexhaustible reservoir of would-be radio and tele- 
vision talent available. 

The excess of labor supply over demand is in itself an indication that 
the entertainment world has not lost its glamour and appeal as it 
entered, through radio and television, the era of mass production. The 
attitude toward their work of the persons interviewed is overwhelmingly 
positive. People on top, medium, and low level; talent, producers and 
writers most of them mention sooner or later in the interview the 
potentially tremendous satisfactions that entertaining holds out for the 
entertainer. They speak of radio and TV as superior media of expres- 
sion, of their creative urges, of the thrill in knowing that millions of 
people see or hear them, of the satisfaction in meeting the challenge 

231 



of a new medium, of the variety of work, its spontaneity, and of course 
of the fact that it gives them a living. 

One prominent actor says, for example: "What I like most? Every 
night is an opening night. I like the spontaneity, precision, and the 
opportunity to serve." A producer: "It's a challenging business. The 
huge audience available to you is a great stimulation. It's an incredibly 
disciplining medium. TV is relentless and consuming another reason 
why I like it. And its talents are youngest and freshest. I have met 
some wonderful people." An actress: "The liveliness of it. There's 
never a repetition. There is not enough time to rehearse, but it's con- 
tinuous action. You get a chance to play so many things." A director: 
"What do you mean what I like best? It's my business, it's my life, I 
like it all." And a producer: "You get an artistic satisfaction from 
making people happy. I get thousands of fan letters. And you make a 
lot of money in this business." 

This enthusiastic identification with the world of entertainment is 
occasionally qualified. To be sure, only two out of all our respondents 
felt like leaving the entertainment field altogether. But about one-third 
said they would rather work in the theater or in movies than in radio 
or television; and 50% of the respondents mention "the money" as one 
of the things they like best about their jobs. We have no comparable 
data from other professions to evaluate whether this is a comparatively 
high or low percentage. On the other hand the interviews indicate the 
sense in which the financial rewards offered by the industry are of 
peculiar significance to its talent. To be sure, money is valued for the 
good things it can buy. But in addition, much more than in most other 
occupations, it is a major symbol of prestige and achievement, and 
conveys a sense of professional security far beyond the matter of secur- 
ity from want. 

The need for such reassurance is not hard to understand. It requires 
no special psychological insight to realize that the very attractiveness of 
radio and television, as demonstrated in the labor market situation, and 
its rapid development are not conducive to a sense of job-security. 
Indeed, a fairly large proportion of talent do not know the security 
which goes with the status of an employee who receives a monthly 
check for a month's work and can look forward to receiving it regu- 
larly. Many of them are free-lance, or hired for short periods. The 
continuation of a show depends on intangible factors over which the 

232 



individual has no control. Sponsors, advertising agencies, and networks 
constantly develop new ideas and programs which may dispense with 
the special qualities one person has to offer. 

Many who were just able to get their foot into this coveted field by 
obtaining a minor part know full well that there are hundreds who 
could perform this small function equally well. And they know that 
the casting officers know this too. They may firmly believe that they 
could prove their mettle if given a bigger chance. But for the time being, 
those lucky enough to find employment in minor parts are without a 
direct yardstick by which to judge their own achievement, and without 
a way of forming an estimate of the security of their job. The rate of 
pay is the only substitute indication they have for assessing themselves 
as they appear in the eyes of others. 

Star performers, though for different reasons, often share this sense 
of insecurity. They fear that the audience may be surfeited with their 
type of show and that ratings may go down. Many of them are firmly 
convinced that there is no way back once a person has passed the peak 
of his popularity. 

In such an inevitably insecure employment situation, it would not 
be surprising if talent, in an effort to maintain their own self-esteem, 
attributed the greater success of others to unfair tactics of competition. 
And a few actually do so. Some of the interviewees tell about young 
women who "slept their way up" to prominence, about favoritism for 
relatives, and the like. But an overwhelming percentage of the re- 
spondents think that the most successful people in their field reached the 
top because they deserved it. Of the persons who answered this ques- 
tion, two-thirds assert this notion of deserved success without qualifica- 
tions. Almost all the others believe that ability and hard work are 
important factors in success in the field, but they also mention luck, a 
"good break," and "knowing the right people." 

Another factor in the employment situation of talent which bears 
on morale is the nature of human relations in the industry. The com- 
munication between management and talent, the understanding they 
have of each other, the compatibility of their interests and their degree 
of mutual confidence are important aspects of morale. There are two 
apparently contradictory sets of stereotypes which exist simultaneously 
in the field: the easy going camaraderie of show people versus the cut- 
throat competitiveness of the entertainment industry; the devotion of a 

233 



team to a creative and artistic task versus the mechanical routine of an 
entertainment machinery which interferes with creativity, dilutes high 
standards and has no room for the responsibility of the individual for 
his work. It is most likely that some factual justification can be found 
for each of these views in the experience of every one in radio and 
television. Here we are concerned, however, less with what actually 
exists and more with how existing conditions are reflected and balanced 
in the minds of the people working in the field. From that point of 
view the opposed stereotypes are neatly resolved for many in terms of 
seeing the positive side among their immediate colleagues and the nega- 
tive side among sponsors, ad agencies, packagers, and to a lesser 
extent network executives. 

As to the relations between colleagues, here too opinions are, of 
course, divided. About one quarter of the people interviewed voiced no 
opinion or felt that there wasn't much difference between the entertain- 
ment industry and other fields, when it came to helping each other. 
Among the remainder, more than half were convinced that relations 
were better, while only 13% said they were worse than elsewhere. 
Statements such as the following were frequently made: "People in 
show business identify with a fellow artist in trouble. They generally 
say to themselves: that might happen to me. And so I think they are 
very prone to helping each other out of difficulties." 

But there are, of course, limits to mutual help: "I think they would 
draw the line when they feared that they themselves might be jeop- 
ardized or if they financially could not help." 

The emphasis on more than ordinary helpfulness which stops only 
when competition for the job is involved or outside the circle of one's 
immediate colleagues is succinctly summarized by a TV producer: 

"Everyone in our organization would do everything they could to 
help everyone else. There is no such thing as a one man TV effort. It's 
a cooperative effort. Would competitors help me? I doubt it. Would 
I help competitors? I doubt it. Would a drowning advertising agency 
or a sponsor screaming out in the night for help evoke my sympathy 
and assistance? I strenuously doubt it." 

In general, relations to managers, sponsors, advertising agencies and 
policy makers on all levels are often experienced as poor. This emerged 
spontaneously in answer to the question as to what a person disliked 
about his job in radio or TV. Many factors are mentioned in response 

234 



to this question: the insecurity of the job (20% ); the nervous pressure 
(41%); the blacklist (10%), the lack of standards and talent (42%); 
and others. But no other factor is mentioned so frequently as the cause 
of dissatisfaction with the job as network and advertising executives, 
and sponsors: fully 52% of the respondents take the question as an 
occasion to describe the frustrating lack of understanding between the 
creative people in the field and those on the business and administrative 
end. 

Feelings often run high on the subject, as the following excerpts from 
interviews indicate. 

A TV writer and editor, classified in the top level category, whose 
work has been on the air more than 25 times during the year: 

"TV isn't one of the forms I hate to call it an art where you're 
on your own. You are responsible to the sponsor and the network. 
If the sponsor's wife doesn't like people to die in a play, people can't 
die. That's radio, that's TV, that's any medium where policies are 
dictated by people who haven't any idea of it. They don't look at a 
play, they look at their Trendex, their rating, and this is certainly 
no yardstick for what is good." 

A leading character-actor in radio has this to say: 

"What I dislike? The impossible restrictions which have cut down 
drama to a pallid reflection of what it should be. Everyone is afraid 
to offend. The fear is foisted by the networks who feel they have to 
please everyone. There is a fantastic amount of censorship which is 
labelled something else . . . The ad agencies are so convinced they 
have their finger on the public pulse . . . there are tremendous 
amounts of money involved and they won't stick their necks out. 
The result? The business people have got producers, directors and 
writers scared and apathetic." 

A radio producer, rated as medium-level: 

"I dislike the authoritarian attitude that sponsors assume. A 
sponsor rings up and complains because the hero and heroine do not 
go into a church at the end of the program; or, why did he have to 
find out that the beautiful blonde was a spy? There is too much 
compromise. I feel the 100% saleable show is pretty trashy." 

The nature of these comments makes it abundantly clear that they 
come from artists. It may well be that creative people will feel cramped 

235 



in any organization, and that artists resent restrictions more than other 
people. If that be the case, communication and clarity in the relation 
between policy makers and talent would be particularly urgent to keep 
such inevitable resentment within manageable limits. The structure of 
the industry, however, makes it difficult to achieve such clarity. Re- 
sponsibility for decisions is apparently always divided, and often lies, 
or is assumed to lie, outside the networks. Any piece of writing goes, 
as a rule, through a system of checks and controls so that the original 
product has often changed considerably when it goes on the air. 
Sponsor and advertising agency determine, or are assumed to determine, 
policy at least to the same extent as the network. 

One serial writer describes the situation in the following way: "What 
I dislike most is that so many people pass judgment on what I write. 
The writer submits a plot and writes a script. A number of people look 
at it from different viewpoints. The producer, the director, the actors, 
the network, the sponsor this is a source of unhappiness for me 
because instead of getting what you feel you have created, you get a 
compilation." 

And another writer: "Everybody is so damned afraid. And there 
is a censorship, an actual censorship in effect. It's the ad agencies and 
the sponsors. It's a vicious thing, all these taboos. The American public 
is treated as if it had the moral sense of a child. Everything has got to 
be happy and sunny. The ad agency rules the field. But you can't put 
it all off on the agency either. Sometimes the sponsor himself puts his 
veto in directly." 

A producer complains: "There are some things that the advertiser 
or the ad agency requests and at times commands which do not con- 
form with my idea of good entertainment. I dislike all interferences on 
the part of the network or the sponsor." 

One director, perhaps with undue limitation to the entertainment 
industry, said: "This is the only field where the guy who pays the bill 
tells the expert what to do." 

If one recalls that many of these critics are actually not in the rela- 
tion of employees to the managers and policy makers of the industry 
that they do not have a stable, continuing relationship with a given 
managerial group the difficulty in achieving clarification or change 
will be seen in its proper perspective. 

These, then are some of the features in the employment situation of 

236 



talent which influence morale. It is against this complex background 
that the views on "blacklisting" must be appraised. 

Views on "Blacklisting" 

"Blacklisting" is an ugly term. So ugly, that it is freely used throughout 
radio and television only by those who condemn wholeheartedly the 
variety of practices and policies associated with the term. Those who 
approve of such procedures as well as those who deny their existence 
object, and as a rule violently, to its use. 

According to Webster's Dictionary a blacklist is "a list of individuals 
regarded as suspect or as deserving of censure or adverse discrimi- 
nation"; and, specifically, "an employer's list of workers who hold 
opinions, or engage in activities, contrary to employers' interests, espe- 
cially a list of workers active in non-recognized union organizations." 

The essential aspect of this definition - the existence of an actual list 
is denied by all top executives who were consulted, whatever their 
personal view or their organization's practices with regard to criteria 
for the employability of a person. There are "sources" which are con- 
sulted; there are "mysterious telephone numbers" as one respondent 
said, which are called; there are "information services" outside the 
industry which check on past and present political views and associa- 
tions of radio and television personnel. But there is no list. One 
executive mentioned the following incident: at a meeting attended by 
representatives of various organizations in the industry, a union official 
presented a proposal for improving the situation in the industry. The 
first part of the proposal contained the request that "everybody tear up 
his list." The proposal was voted down, in part because it was unrealistic. 
Everybody present agreed that there was no list to be torn up. 

So strong is the aversion to the term that one top executive who 
spoke with considerable frankness and in much detail about the methods 
he used to screen employees and job candidates for their views and 
associations felt compelled to add: "But this is not blacklisting. I define 
blacklisting as discrimination on the job because of race, creed, color or 
political belief. Communism or sympathy with communism is not an 
ordinary political belief. It is a conspiracy. Hence I am not engaged 
in blacklisting." 

The assertion from several sources that no list exists recalls a pro- 
found remark by Baudelaire: 'The most beautiful ruse of the Devil is 
to persuade us that he doesn't exist." 

237 



As a matter of fact, the actual existence or non-existence of such a 
list is not of central importance to a study of beliefs about employment 
practices in the industry as affected by political considerations, nor to 
an understanding of their psychological effects. It is on these latter 
questions that the present study is focused. The term "blacklisting" 
has been used, both in the interview and in this report, as the most 
concise way of designating the aspect of employment practices with 
which the study is concerned, without any intention of asserting the 
actual existence of a written list. 

Let us first consider three contrasting views on the situation as pre- 
sented by three of our respondents. 

One actor who works both in radio and in television, appearing 
about six times a week, though in minor capacities, asserts his political 
views even before he is asked about "blacklisting" practices. In answer 
to the question whether he would contribute his services without pay 
to a benefit show, he says: "If there are any politics involved I'd refuse. 
I would refuse anything that has red tendencies or so-called liberal 
tendencies. In other words, I'm not pink, I'm a true blue American." 

When asked what would happen to a person in the industry who is 
not a Communist now but who attended Communist Party meetings for 
a short time 15 years ago and was now named in a magazine as a Com- 
munist sympathizer, he answers: "He would probably lose his job." 
And he adds: "Anyone can make a mistake; if it is certain he is not a 
Communist now I don't believe in crucifying him. But you must always 
be on your guard." 

Asked about what that man could do to keep his job, he says: 
"Declare his position, state his repentance and his allegiance to our way 
of life and beliefs. That is all he can do and may God help him." 

When asked whether he believes that "blacklisting" is now practised 
in the industry, he says: "No, I think there is a silent avoiding of red 
sympathizers in every field of entertainment." But "Blacklisting does 
more good than harm. Because one bad apple could spoil a whole 
barrel. I don't think people who are red sympathizers have any right 
to be among loyal and true Americans. They can always be replaced." 

This man says he cannot answer many of the other relevant questions 
for lack of knowledge. But there are some exceptions: He thinks a 
person usually knows whether he is on a list. "I don't think there is any 
mystery about it." As one of the reasons for "blacklisting" he states: 

238 



"An actor should be a living example of Americanism." And he feels 
that "red sympathizers and troublesome actors" are most likely to be 
"blacklisted". As an adjustment to the temper of the times in order to 
avoid being criticized on political grounds he suggests: "Keep their 
mouths shut. Do not get into any political discussions while engaged 
in rehearsals." He thinks the situation with regard to "blacklisting" is 
not changing; and he believes that the TV industry, more than radio, 
is in favor of "blacklisting". He does not consider the problem as very 
important. 

By contrast, this is what a TV actor on a top level has to say: 

He, too, thinks that a person named now for activities which ended 
15 years ago would probably lose his job. But he adds a note of 
cynicism with regard to differences between individuals in this respect: 
"If the individual is needed he will be cleared somehow," implying that 
those concerned with these procedures permit their own interest to 
determine the fate of a man. He adds : "Networks have a dossier on 
everybody, and something that they call derogatory information is col- 
lected on every one they use, actor or writer. Network lawyers evaluate 
this information. This leads to a lot of confusion because there are 
other agencies evaluating such information. Some are more lenient 
than others. This means some actors can appear on some programs but 
not on others." And he concludes this description with a remark which 
was made by several respondents in similar form: "I could be fired for 
telling you this." 

This man says "blacklisting" is currently practiced in the industry 
and he considers it does more harm than good. "It sets up standards 
which have little basis in reality. It's used as a weapon against people 
who opposed the blacklist. This has nothing to do with politics. I think 
it's un-American. And that goes for the blacklisting of the blacklisters 
too. The whole thing has evil connotations." 

"I don't know an advertising agency that doesn't have a list. The 
networks have a list. We have a list. The program I'm connected with 
has a white list, a list of people you can use, not that you can't use." 

Asked for the reasons that may lead to a person being "blacklisted," 
he says: "The reasons are many. If you belong to the Communist Party 
or to any group on the Attorney-General's list. If you sign a petition. 
I know of one man who was blacklisted because he attended the funeral 
of an actor who was a Communist. Even groups that aren't on the 

239 



Attorney-General's list are enough reason. Or you belong to the wrong 
faction in the union. The union played a large part in it. They used 
the threat of blacklisting to stay in power. Some agencies have recently 
decided that union activities are not derogatory information. Others 
still consider it derogatory." 

On the sources of lists and the mechanics of operation, he says: "It 
started with Red Channels; then came Counterattack, Mr. Johnson from 
Syracuse and Aware, Inc. Johnson alerts people like the American 
Legion. You know you are on the list because you don't work. Nobody 
ever tells you officially why. If you pay you can get cleared. There are 
300 radio and TV people affected by it." He thinks that nobody should 
be on such a list. 

The respondent sees two motives for a list: (1) ultra-patriotism and 
(2) economic advantage. He thinks that information on people is sold. 
He also claims to know of a case where professional jealousy led to a 
political accusation. He feels some of the listers may think they are 
doing a good job but he considers them pathological. 

A third respondent, a prominent radio M.C., who has been in the 
field for a long time, has much more to say about his work in general 
than about "blacklisting," notwithstanding the many pointed questions 
about it. 

"I prefer radio to TV. It is easier. There are no hot lights. Every- 
thing you do before the camera is fixed beforehand. The most import- 
ant thing is not to step beyond the chalk line. But in radio some people 
get a feeling it is a defeated thing. I don't believe this. Still, the most 
difficult problem is the competition from TV. But radio will come 
back. TV faces the problem of pay-as-you-go (subscription) TV. 
Maybe radio will profit from it. I'd like to go over to the administra- 
tive side; it all depends on whom you know. You can come in with 
the best idea in the world unless they know you they wouldn't give 
you any consideration." 

"People don't help each other much, anyhow. It's a jealous situation. 
People feel: this guy might get ahead of me. Everything is so competi- 
tive. You can't afford to go out of your way to help someone. There 
is a minimum number of jobs and lots of people to fill them." 

When it comes to the question of "blacklisting," this man says: "I 
don't know whether it does more harm or more good. Maybe it's un- 
important. There are many without jobs who haven't been blacklisted.' 

240 



And asked whether a friend who now gets into difficulties because 
he once had attended Communist Party meetings would ask the re- 
spondent's advice, the man answers: "No; people don't help each other 
in this industry. Well, I could give him sympathy, but not advice." 

Asked about adjustments to the temper of the times, he adds: "Watch 
your step. Call the FBI if in doubt. Don't do things that might bring 
you in an unfavorable light. It's not wise to get involved in politics." 
He feels "blacklisting" is not important, since "some of the finest actors 
are unemployed without being blacklisted." 

These three respondents are, of course, different in many ways. The 
areas of difference on which we wish to focus here are the beliefs that 
"blacklisting" is currently practised, and attitudes toward "blacklisting." 

Many of the respondents regard "blacklisting" as just another pos- 
sible source of insecurity in employment, to which they often attach no 
more importance than to others. When they were asked to compare 
the importance of the "blacklisting" problem with that of other prob- 
lems they had discussed in the interview, only about one-third of those 
who expressed an opinion felt that it was very important. The rest 
regarded it as of minor or no importance. 

But whatever the degree of importance they attach to "blacklisting," 
there are very few among those who discuss it whose views resemble 
that of the first man quoted. It is the second example which represents 
the most frequent position among those interviewed. A few simple 
figures may summarize the views and values of the people we inter- 
viewed. It should be kept in mind that these figures are, at best, a 
crude indication of general trends, for reasons explained earlier in the 
report: The number of respondents is small (64), and it is impossible 
to determine to what extent they represent the views of the entire in- 
dustry. All that can be claimed is that these respondents were chosen 
without bias or any possible foreknowledge of their views and opinions. 
(The interested reader will find the responses to all questions in greater 
detail in Appendix a.) 

1. Do you think blacklisting is practiced in TV and radio now? 

ANSWERS: Top level Others All in sample 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 10% 23% 19% 

Of those who answer: 

Yes 89% 82% 85% 

No 11% 18% 15% 

241 



2. How do you feel about blacklisting? In general, do you think it 
does more harm or more good? 

ANSWERS: Top level Others All in sample 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 10% 23% 19% 
Of those who answer: 

More harm 100% 91% 94% 

More good 0% 9% 6% 

3. What are some of the things a person might have done which could 
result in his being blacklisted? 



ANSWERS: Top level Others 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 10% 18% 

Of those who answer: 

Suspected of past or present Com- 
munist or fellow traveler activities. 33% 44% 
Other reasons, but no mention of 
Communist or fellow traveler activi- 
ties (e.g.: accidental or personal asso- 
ciations: current non-communist, po- 
litical activities; union activities; etc.) 67% 56% 

4. Are the listers sincere and patriotic? 



All in sample 



Top level 

5% 



Others 
39% 



ANSWERS: 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 

Of those who answer: 

Yes, sincere 

Sincere but misguided, crazy 

Some sincere, others not 

Insincere, profiteers, pathological 

5. Is professional jealousy involved? 
ANSWERS: 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 
Of those who answer: 

Jealousy involved 

Jealousy not involved 

6. What parts of the industry are for the blacklist? 
ANSWERS: Top level Others 
Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 5% 34% 
Of those who answer: * 



41% 



59% 



All in sample 



0% 
37% 
16% 

47% 

Top level 

35% 

100% 
0% 



19% 

22% 
26% 
33% 

Others 
41% 

50% 
50% 



11% 

28% 
22% 
39% 



All in sample 
39% 

67% 

33% 

All in sample 

25% 



* Total is more than 100% because some respondents mentioned more than one 
group. 



242 



Ad agencies 26% 41% 35% 

Sponsors 37% 34% 35% 

Networks, employers, management 26% 14% 19% 

Individuals (no group) 26% 31% 29% 

7. Suppose that someone now in the industry is named as a Communist 
sympathizer in a magazine. He really isn't now, although fifteen 
years ago he attended Communist Party meetings for a short time. 
What do you think will happen about his job? 

ANSWERS: Top level Others All in sample 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 10% 9% 9% 
Of those who answer: 

He'll probably lose job 55% 53% 54% 

He'll probably keep job 28% 20% 22% 

Fifty-fifty chance to keep job 17% 27% 24% 

8. Just to give some perspective, how important do you feel black- 
listing is in relation to other problems in the industry? 

ANSWERS: Top level Others All in sample 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 5% 32% 23% 

Of those who answer: 

Very important 47% 30% 37% 

Minor importance 36% 60% 51% 

No importance 17% 10% 12% 

9. In regard to blacklisting, would you say that the situation is getting 
better or getting worse, or staying about the same? 

ANSWERS: Top level Others All in sample 

Not responsive, no answer, no knowledge 10% 34% 27% 
Of those who answer: 

Better 95% 80% 85% 

Worse 0% 10% 6% 

About the same 5% 10% 9% 

These figures show that those who express an opinion are convinced 
that "blacklisting" is being practised; they regard it virtually unani- 
mously as harmful; the majority of the people interviewed think that 
persons are "blacklisted" for reasons other than membership in the 
Communist Party or other subversive organizations, or entertaining 
Communist sympathies; opinions are about equally divided as to 
whether those who produce lists are motivated by sincere patriotism, 
but most of those who believe the listers are sincere consider them 

243 



misguided; many believe that professional jealousy is involved in 
"blacklisting"; among the parts of the industry believed to favor the 
"blacklist" those most frequently mentioned are advertising agencies 
and sponsors; the majority believe that a casual attendance at Com- 
munist Party meetings 15 years ago could now cost an individual his 
position and livelihood; and the overwhelming majority believe that 
the situation with regard to "blacklisting" is improving. 

With regard to the importance attached to "blacklisting," interpreta- 
tions must be particularly cautious. While it is true that one third of 
those who express an opinion when asked about this matter say they 
regard "blacklisting" as a very important issue, it is also true that only 
six persons mention "blacklisting" spontaneously when talking about 
their work in general. At best, these figures set the upper and lower 
bounds for gauging the importance attached to this matter. 

It is not our task to decide whether these beliefs and opinions are 
justified by reality or not. As beliefs and opinions they have their psy- 
chological reality, with its impact on the morale of talent. 

Psychological Themes 

Most of the respondents talked at great length, on the average for two 
and three-quarters hours. No interview lasted for less than one hour; 
one extended to six hours. Out of this rich material a number of psy- 
chological themes emerged which cannot possibly be captured in 
monosyllabic answers to complicated questions. The identification of 
these themes and of their relation to some more general aspects of 
morale (even though as already indicated we cannot take their statistical 
incidence too seriously), provides some basis for estimating the im- 
plications of "blacklisting" for the radio and television industry. Before 
we can discuss the picture as a whole, however, we need to review these 
themes individually. 
Fear 

Perhaps the most outstanding theme is the recurring evidence of fear 
in the persons we talked to. Mostly fear of losing one's job. But also 
fear of getting involved in issues, of committing oneself to an opinion, 
of having to face questions of right or wrong and of one's own values in 
a complex world. For about a quarter of the respondents the interview 
itself created a certain amount of fear, more or less openly admitted. 
From question 14 onwards, where the interview turns to "blacklisting" 

and related matters, the written assurance of complete anonymity was 

% 

244 



frequently reread by the respondents. Questions were asked from here 
on about the purpose and sponsorship of the study; small jokes "per- 
haps you are an F.B.I, agent?" were made, revealing a certain amount 
of tension. The interviewers had been instructed to note any uneasiness 
in the respondent, and the place where it appeared. Here are some 
of their comments: 

"All the questions on blacklisting were difficult with respondent. 
It was like pulling words out of her mouth. She would have gone on 
all day to talk about herself, but when it came to blacklisting she did 
not like it." 

"Some questions the respondent felt were an attempt to evaluate 
his integrity and he showed some resentment." 

"I don't believe he was quite honest in denying any more knowl- 
edge about blacklisting." 

"He was initially cautious, then expansive until the questions 
became controversial. He then became extremely cautious and often 
evasive. He made several contradictory statements." 

"His anxiety about the blacklist questions was apparent when he 
nearly broke off the interview. The letter of introduction calmed 
him right down to the point where he could continue." 

"Respondent absolutely refused to discuss the subject in more 
detail. At the end of the interview I told her that others had been 
more articulate. She said, 'That's good but one gets conditioned'. 
Throughout the interview I assured her of anonymity. To no avail." 
In other cases where fear was less obvious, its existence could none- 
theless be inferred. A good indicator is the frequency of evasive or 
"don't know" answers to questions. For questions dealing with the 
industry in general, apart from "blacklisting," the average percentage 
of evasive, unclassifiable or "don't know" answers was just under 5%. 
For questions dealing with "blacklisting" this average percentage was 
28%. In view of the fact that almost 9 out of 10 of the sample were 
regular readers of the daily New York press, and virtually all of them 
readers of the industry's publications and in view of what others said 
about the concern of themselves and their colleagues with the issue, 
this percentage seems unreasonably high if interpreted at face value as 
lack of knowledge. 

The evasion of an answer by claiming lack of knowledge is facili- 
tated, of course, by the fact that the actual procedures and policies 

245 



employed are not publicly announced. One executive, in describing the 
screening procedures he used emphasized that he made it a point never 
to pass on to anyone the information he had obtained about a person. 
All he would tell a casting director, for example, was: use or do not use 
X. He, as well as many other respondents, said that political labels 
were judiciously avoided and that the term used to describe a non- 
employable person was: X. is "controversial." The person so designated 
is, according to the views of many who commented on this point, not 
informed of the decision made against him. One actor said: "Nobody 
is told that he is on a list, because under some law libel, slander or 
character defamation that would lay the employer open to a libel 
suit. They would have to prove that a certain individual was unworthy 
of a job." Of those who answered the question, "Is a person ever told 
that he is not hired because he is on a list?", only about 12% think a 
person is usually told that he is on a list; and even they often say that 
such information is given unofficially "by the grapevine," "a secretary 
may let it out," "if he has a friend in a position to know he may tell 
him." 

It is, of course, quite possible that the secrecy surrounding the pro- 
cedures, decisions, and reasons for decisions is meant to be not only 
in the interest of the company but also in the interest of the talent. But 
it is doubtful whether this latter purpose is actually fulfilled. For in 
the absence of clear information on procedures and criteria for deciding 
that a person is unemployable, rumor and hearsay take over; two factors 
most effective in reaching many, but hardly effective in spreading accu- 
rate knowledge. The secrecy surrounding the implementation of these 
employment policies must inevitably increase fear. 

Frustration 

Fear has its consequences in the way people behave to each other. It 
has already been pointed out that the general job insecurity affects 
relations of people in the industry. The fear engendered by the "black- 
list" has its special effect. We were told of a man whose political 
activities in the distant past, (from which he had effectively dissociated 
himself and about which he had given full information to the F.B.I.), 
were about to be made public. This man felt the urge to inform a few 
of his colleagues of the factual situation before his story would hit the 
headlines. He thought of arranging a private luncheon for this purpose. 
When he approached a close colleague and friend with this idea, the 

246 



friend said he would under no circumstances attend such a meeting, 
nor did he believe would anybody else who knew what the luncheon 
was to be about. 

This undermining of mutual confidence and support through fear 
is apparently quite frequent. The interviewees were asked whether they 
knew of a case of "blacklisting" and of the surrounding circumstances. 
Most of them (about five out of six) answered the question affirma- 
tively. These persons were then asked how the colleagues and how the 
employer of the "blacklisted" persons behaved in the situation. Actual 
help from colleagues was reported by about a quarter of those familiar 
with such a case; sympathetic attitudes among colleagues without active 
help was mentioned by many more. 

Among colleagues the wish to help coupled with the difficulty of 
doing so creates frustration. One man in describing a case said: "He 
was a fine actor, and it was a gross injustice. People cared about him 
as a person too and would have liked to help. But what can you do?" 

The phrase "but what can you do?" is often used. One person said: 
"Often there is no special occasion to do something. They aren't 
always fired in a dramatic scene. They just aren't hired. They don't 
get a day in court. They are simply not employed. What can you do?" 

And another: "Fellow artists are weak, and their attitude is un- 
importantthey are all working people. They would be afraid to 
help him." 

Of course, there are also cases in which effective help has been given. 
One of our respondents reported that he and some friends had raised 
the money for a colleague in trouble so that he could hire a lawyer. 
Now that colleague was working again in the industry. But such inci- 
dents seem to be quite rare. As a rule, the difficulties of a colleague 
create deep frustration among those who want to help but feel impotent 
and unable to do anything. 

Such frustration resulting from a sense of helplessness is intensified 
by the role the unions are said to play in this situation. According to 
a number of the respondents, the manner in which anti-communism 
affects the employment situation in the industry is, and has been for 
some years, the cause of bitter fights within the unions. The merging 
of previously separate unions and other organizational matters make 
the history of these unions very complex. This is not the place to 
present these complicated matters; nor have we made a study of the 

247 



position actually taken by the unions. What should be mentioned here 
is that some respondents feel particularly frustrated when discussing 
their unions. One man said: "There is a feeling of futility; I'm not as 
willing to go out and fight as I once was. I fought in the union. We 
won office for a couple of years. Then we figured factionalism was 
gone and put through a resolution to disband sides. Everyone lived up 
to the bargain except those who took over one committee; they are in 
complete control. They intimidate and label everyone a Communist 
who opposes them. Many were thus labelled even though they had 
been cleared by the F.B.I. For example because they opposed a loyalty 
pledge." Several others said too that opposition in union meetings on 
union issues was regarded as a dangerous undertaking. And some 
reported that attendance at union meetings had rapidly fallen off within 
recent years. They implied that a major factor had been a sense of 
frustration related to fear of political repercussions for those active in 
the unions. 

Constriction of Activities and Associations 

Persons in our sample talk of self-imposed restrictions on the range 
of their ordinary activities in response to "blacklisting." Respondents 
were asked what adjustments, if any, they felt obliged to make to the 
temper of the times in order to avoid possible political criticism. In 
particular, they were asked about discussing their political views around 
the studio, about being friendly with certain people, joining organiza- 
tions, and special caution, if any, in the choice of reading matter. There 
are some persons in the sample who indignantly deny such restrictions, 
or even the need for them. There are others who describe certain pre- 
cautions they take; but there are none who feel that these precautions 
have meaning or benefit anybody. 

One actor's sarcastic exaggeration conveys the tone of inner rebellion 
felt by some, even though he was obviously satirizing the situation: 
"Isolate yourself, render no opinion on any subject. Keep closely 
confined counsel, make love to no woman you don't ultimately marry, 
divorce your wife under no condition, avoid making enemies for any 
reason, love everyone and be loved by everyone, and above all be 
neutral about everything. Don't go to public assemblies, avoid ban- 
quets, meetings; and, when overheard by anyone else, be speaking 
exclusively about the subject of mother or romance." 

More realistically, another reports: "My wife had a copy of Karl 

248 



Marx that she got when she was 16 or 17 years old. One night we were 
having a producer and his wife over for dinner and we didn't want him 
to see this book, so she removed it from the shelf." 

In an extreme case, a respondent said that a job-seeking actor would 
not be wise to walk into an advertising agency with a copy of The 
Nation or the New York Post under his arm. For the run-of-the-mill 
precautions, one staff-writer sums it up thus: "With the exception of 
the fellows who are admitted Communists or of those who took the 
Fifth Amendment and have nothing further to lose, everyone else tends 
to pull in his horns." 

There are quite a few persons in the sample for whom such con- 
striction is relatively easy. They are willing to comply with what they 
perceive to be appropriate behavior because they are so dedicated to 
their profession that they do not care too much about matters outside 
of it. To them it appears to be an almost meaningless concession to the 
climate of the tunes. 

It is particularly striking how little exception to such constriction 
writers take, even when it affects the content of their work. One of 
them said: "Nowadays, it would certainly be a mistake to let the under- 
dog win in the end. So I don't." Another one mentioned that there 
was now somewhat more stereotyping of content than there had been. 
But he felt the change was slight and often hardly perceptible. It was, 
he said, for example, no longer "approved" to make a banker the villain 
in a play. "Of course, there often is no particular reason why the villain 
should be a banker; I give him another profession." This man was 
asked, in the interview, how he felt about such restrictions. He shrugged 
his shoulders, and started to recite a long series of other, non-political 
restrictions, which a writer had to follow in any case for every sponsor. 
The restricted choice of occupation for the villain of his imagination 
was of minor concern to him. 

Target for Suspicion 

One theme on which respondents elaborated and which helps to 
make constriction acceptable is the conviction of many that "it can 
happen to everyone." As one man said: "Anyone can get blacklisted. 
It's such a haphazard method of picking." 

But if one looks closer into the statements of respondents about the 
universality of the threat, it emerges that what is actually meant is that 
suspicion, and its consequences for employability, is not limited to Com- 

249 



munists and subversive elements, but is directed against a large variety 
of persons. 

In several instances it is said that "idealists" are likely to get into 
trouble. Sometimes the explanation is added, because they "were 
swindled into a benefit performance" or "doing something for Loyalist 
Spain"; but sometimes there is no qualification or explanation, as if the 
respondent takes it for granted that idealism leads to being accused or 
suspected of Communist affiliations. 

Some respondents have so little respect for those who originate these 
employment policies that they do not trust them to know what a Com- 
munist is. And they claim that their observations confirm the complete 
absence of responsible and politically sophisticated criteria. One person 
sees suspicion directed against "the more intellectual groups; the ones 
that are serious about their work." Another fears for "those who delve 
more into problems, because they are more inclined to experiment." 
Or: "Liberals are likely to get into trouble. They tend to find flaws in 
the existing world and write about them. They are interested in all 
sorts of things and pay less attention to public taboos." 

In line with the notion that people who have social ideals are more 
likely than others to get into trouble is the following comment: "Those 
who are outspoken about wanting to improve race relations" (may be 
in trouble). "If one lives in the Village, it's bad. Sometimes even if 
you let it be known that you are a Democrat. If you are a member of 
the A.D.A., it is murder." 

Finally, a number of people commented that they personally felt 
quite safe because they were too unimportant to be discriminated 
against. "Frankly, I don't think I have big enough a name to get into 
trouble. Names is all they (the listers) want." 

A contrasting view is mentioned by a number of executives who felt 
that the extent of "blacklisting" was exaggerated because it was easier 
on one's vanity to attribute failure to get a job to the "blacklist" than 
to one's lack of talent. Whether or not this is so in some cases we are, 
of course, unable to say, since no person who believed himself "black- 
listed" was included in the sample. That other persons, not included in 
our small sample, use "blacklisting" as an excuse to cover up their own 
lack of ability, is, of course, possible. It is, however, not very likely 
that one would call himself "blacklisted" without good evidence since 
such a rumor alone may destroy further job chances. 

250 



Cynicism 

Most of our respondents believe that the "blacklisting" procedures, 
initiated and defended in the name of national security, have no bear- 
ing whatsoever on national security. They were all aware of the 
watertight system of control over content before it goes on the air 
which excludes possibilities of direct subversion. Some of them pointed 
out that engineers, who are in the most crucial position to do harm in 
an emergency, were not affected by these policies. None of them men- 
tioned an argument which is often made elsewhere, namely that out- 
standing performers might use a good deal of their income to help the 
cause of communism financially. Most of them, as already indicated, 
had doubts about the motivation of the listers. When this doubt was 
voiced in a more charitable spirit, the listers were called misguided or 
crazy; in a less charitable mood the adjectives were insincere, profiteer- 
ing, money-greedy, hypocritical, and the like. 

Such an evaluation of the motivation behind the "blacklisting" pro- 
cedures, and of their ineffectiveness, taken together with the sense of 
frustration with regard to decency in human relations, the constriction 
of activities without a justifying conviction, and the belief that unfair 
and unintelligible criteria are used which get people into serious trouble 
collectively, these add up to an attitude of cynicism. It is not sur- 
prising, therefore, that when the question was raised as to why powerful 
networks and sponsors complied with the requests made by such doubt- 
ful characters, the answer was, as a rule: money. 

There are some practices cited by respondents which lend support 
to this all-embracing cynical explanation. One major employer, for 
example, allegedly checks on personnel not once and for all, but insists 
that every new assignment of a person be confirmed only after a new 
check has been performed. One person in the sample, commenting on 
the need for repeated clearance, declared he could understand it only 
in terms of a rumor he had heard: there was an alleged fee of $7.50 
a person had to pay to one of the outside organizations which had set 
up its own machinery for "clearing" personnel, whenever a question 
was raised. More open support for the assumption that it is all a 
question of money derives from several statements, allegedly made to 
personnel by some networks and advertising agencies, that it is in the 
financial interest of the sponsor to avoid the use of "controversial" 
persons. 

251 



This is not to assert that the persons we interviewed were blind to 
the general trend of public opinion. On the contrary, they mentioned 
again and again that what was happening in the entertainment industry 
fitted well into the national climate of thought or "the national hys- 
teria", according to some and was possible only because of it. But 
what they felt was that here it was the catering to a mood rather than 
the fulfillment of a good purpose, and for reasons of personal profit. 

Of the persons who expressed an opinion as to whether anyone 
should be excluded from work in the industry because of his political 
beliefs, the great majority felt that no one should be; qualification for 
the job is the only criterion which they repeatedly stressed. As they 
perceive those who pay for their services to hold very different views, 
they keep quiet for the sake of the job in the conviction that there is 
in this respect little room for fairness in the entertainment industry. 
They submit to what they believe to be wrong. 

A Conflict of Conscience 

Yet the respondents' views of cynicism in management are not 
verified when one discusses the situation with executives of networks, 
advertising agencies and packaging firms. In all but one of these inter- 
views the existence of certain procedures to check on the views and 
political associations of radio and television personnel was discussed; 
in no case with either enthusiasm or cynicism. The attitudes of these 
executives is expressed by the following typical comments: 

"I have to do it. I hate doing it. Everyone else in the same boat feels 
that way." 

"I have spent many sleepless nights over it. It's hard to know what 
to do." 

"I hate it, but let's be realistic. If we admit that public opinion won't 
stand for using a Communist like Paul Robeson on the air, then we 
have to have criteria for selection. And since there are no criteria 
which can be used, we are where we are." 

"I have fought for a few people in spite of opposition. But I had to 
give in in a number of cases. I have hated myself for doing it." 

"I think it is a terrible, tragic mistake. But I confess to you that if 
one of these outside organizations would ask me to pay them $200 a 
month to protect the interests of this organization, I am afraid I would 
pay it." 

"Don't call me a security officer. I am just here to protect the inter- 

252 



ests of our clients. Controversial people are bad for their business. I 
don't have to be ashamed of what I am doing. It is just a job to safe- 
guard our clients." 

Those who have worked out procedures for screening have given 
considerable thought to them and have undoubtedly spent thousands 
of working hours and much money on this, by their own standards, 
unenviable task. Nonetheless, nobody claimed to have found the right 
procedure that would avoid possible injustice to individuals. 

In the beginning of the interviews with executives, they were first 
acquainted with the results being reported here and asked if they cared 
to comment on them. With one exception where the attitude was com- 
pletely non-committal, the findings were not brushed aside as of no 
importance to the industry. One or two executives felt it hard to believe 
that morale with regard to "blacklisting" should be as low as indicated; 
several said they had expected it to be low. None took it lightly. 

All but one of the executives were ready to discuss ways of improv- 
ing the situation, though some expressed skepticism about the chances 
of doing so. Explicitly or implicitly it was clear that they regarded the 
sponsors as having of necessity the final word in these matters even 
though, as was pointed out on several occasions, it was not the sponsor 
who carried legal responsibility for what went on the air. 

Divided Responsibility and Lack of Communication 

Another theme was frequently introduced both by talent and by the 
leaders of the industry: the difficulty of establishing a change of policy 
in an industry in which so many diverse groups have a legitimate say, 
and where direct communication between policy makers and talent is 
the exception rather than the rule. 

As has been indicated, this difficulty is general and genuine in areas 
having nothing to do with employment policies. With regard to "black- 
listing," it is compounded because other private individuals and or- 
ganizations have managed to insert themselves into the complicated 
chain of command in this respect. It is not part of this report to 
describe in detail the nature or the activities of such outside groups 
which try to influence the employment policies in the industry. All that 
can be said here is that many of the respondents are aware of their 
existence and regard them as a further complication in an already 
complicated system of shared responsibilities. 

One TV writer who felt that "blacklisting" had damaged the entire 

253 



industry put his views thus: "In itself it (blacklisting) is an admission 
on the part of the TV industry that prerogatives that should be retained 
by them can be usurped by outside sources. And once they have started 
to give in to these sources, they will have to give in more." 

This alleged absence of individual responsibility for policy decisions 
about "blacklisting" makes it plausible that the impersonal managerial 
"they" are blamed for everything, to the detriment of morale in the 
industry. 

This is made all the easier because many policy decisions and 
struggles fought by management in the interest of curtailing outside 
interference are kept confidential. In the discussion with policy makers 
a number of incidents were mentioned which clearly show top execu- 
tives asserting individual responsibility, ignoring outside organizations, 
defending individual performers and striving to preserve an atmosphere 
suitable for constructive work. These incidents are known only to 
those directly involved. They cannot be fully identified in this report. 
The executives revealed them on the condition that their organizations 
not be mentioned. There can be little doubt that these incidents actually 
occurred; their constructive impact on morale in the industry would, 
of course, have been infinitely greater had they been revealed in full. 

One top executive, for example, mentioned a show sponsored by a 
producer of well-known consumer goods. After the show he received 
a number of letters threatening boycott of the goods unless a "subver- 
sive" actor was removed from the cast. The top executive was con- 
vinced that the accusation was false. He communicated with the 
sponsor, who had received similar mail. Both decided to ignore the 
threat. Nothing more was heard about it. The business of the sponsor 
is as flourishing as ever. 

Another top executive said that his organization was not very much 
impressed by mail accusing individual performers of the wrong political 
connections. He had learned to ignore such correspondence when he 
realized that the largest number of such letters he ever received hi an 
individual case was 200. On the other hand, when one favorite show 
altered its time schedule, 8,000 letters of protest came in. Nevertheless 
the show lost nothing of its popularity on the new schedule. 

Several executives said they knew that some of their biggest sponsors 
were annoyed by the interferences of one Mr. Johnson (the owner of 
three grocery stores in Syracuse who is said to be engaged in a one-man 

254 



campaign to eliminate from employment in the entertainment field 
persons whose political views he suspects) and ignored his threats of 
boycott without damage to themselves. 

To be sure, there were other indications in the interviews with policy 
makers which confirm the beliefs and views of talent working in the 
entertainment field with regard to abdicating responsibility for deci- 
sions, or doing under one's own responsibility what outsiders clamored 
for. But the point to be made here is that the secrecy surrounding all 
such decisions leads inevitably to the assumption among some propor- 
tion of our respondents that concern with decency and fairness for 
victims of political accusation is foreign to the policy makers. 

In summary, the psychological themes emerging from that part of 
the interview which focussed on "blacklisting" are unmistakably, 
though in a one-sided fashion, related to the general employment situa- 
tion which confronts the industry's talent. Enthusiasm for their jobs 
does not influence the views that the persons interviewed take towards 
"blacklisting". But those features of the general employment situation 
to which talent objects are closely interwoven with their views on 
"blacklisting". This is the picture which results, a picture often only 
intensifying already existing trends: "blacklisting" procedures are met 
with fear, frustration, a conviction that innocent people are suspected, 
constriction and cynicism on the part of talent; an unresolved conflict 
of conscience on the part of management, with a notion that going 
along with the temper of the times is required if they are to serve the 
best interest of their clients. The situation is further confused by the 
fact that responsibility is hard to allocate in a field in which many rela- 
tively independent units cooperate. Thus, outside pressure groups have 
achieved a foothold in the situation. And since communication between 
policy makers and talent is rare and secrecy surrounds many proce- 
dures, even the deliberate efforts of leaders in the industry to protect 
talent remain unacknowledged. Thus in spite of executive concern, 
thoughtfulness, and conflict of conscience "blacklisting" procedures 
continue in the industry. 

Neither among talent nor among policy leaders is there much con- 
viction that the national interest is served by "blacklisting" procedures. 
If the industry as a whole nevertheless complies with what they perceive 
to be the climate of opinion, other motives are involved: the wish to 
keep a job and the wish to keep a client. These are strong motives, 

255 



firmly embedded in the structure of the industry. Even though they 
are not the only motives operating it would be misleading to disregard 
them. Unless the industry becomes convinced that jobs and clients can 
be kept without "blacklisting" procedures, these procedures will con- 
tinue to plague radio and television. 

An Examination of the Rationale for "Blacklisting" 

One cannot look at the manner in which anti-communism affects the 
industry's employment policies without raising the question whether 
the function served by these policies is of such importance that it war- 
rants their psychological consequences. If these policies are required 
in the interest of national security or if their existence improved the 
quality of the materials that go on the air, the question would have to 
be answered in the affirmative. The situation would then be much the 
same as it is with the federal security program for government em- 
ployees: there, too, undesirable consequences exist. But since there is 
an overwhelming consensus that security checks of federal employees 
are required in the national interest, an improvement of procedures is 
called for, rather than the abolition of the program. 

The situation is, however, different in the entertainment industry. 
We have not come across anyone who maintains that our national 
security is safeguarded by these procedures. And no one argues seri- 
ously that the content of radio and television programs has been affected 
by "blacklisting", for better or for worse. The industry itself seems 
convinced of two facts: subversive ideas were not propagated over the 
air before "blacklisting" started; and the accusation that the very best 
people were eliminated from the air by "blacklisting" is for the most 
part without foundation. 

If the belief nevertheless persists that the industry cannot get along 
without using some check on the political views and affiliations of the 
talent it employs, this is due to a chain of assumptions about psycho- 
logical responses including assumptions about the public at large and 
about what people refer to as "sponsor psychology". 

To speak of "sponsor psychology" already implies an assumption 
which is, to say the least, questionable. It may make sense to speak 
about the psychological responses of a group of people who find them- 
selves in the same situation and are exposed to similar policies and 
practices. Sponsors are not in such a situation. All they have in 

256 



common is that they are supporting radio and television financially 
because they expect and receive a return for their advertising 
dollars. Apart from this, their psychological reactions will differ and 
be moulded by the very special situations in which each of them finds 
himself. What is more, since sponsors are not in close touch with each 
other, their reactions will presumably be quite diverse even to common 
problems. In the thinking of the industry, however, there seems to be 
little recognition of individuality in sponsor reactions. 

A most significant corollary of this assumption about the sponsors 
is the belief that they are exclusively motivated by profit considerations. 
To be sure, they are in business to make a profit. But it is unjustifiable 
to assume that American industrialists and business men are so thor- 
oughly dominated by the profit motive as to pursue it ruthlessly with- 
out permitting any considerations of fairness, due process and general 
decency to deter them from achieving this one goal. American industry 
has long since discovered that profit and decency are not mutually 
exclusive. There is no reason to believe that this lesson learned since 
the days of the robber barons has been forgotton. 

A second assumption concerns one particular group of sponsors, the 
production goods sponsors rather than the consumption goods sponsors. 
The latter obviously wish to sell their goods directly through advertis- 
ing. The production goods manufacturers advertise to the general pub- 
lic for the purposes of obtaining good will. Now the assumption is 
made that sponsors equate good will with the absence of criticism. It is 
conceivable that some sponsors actually have this rather narrow notion 
of good will. But it is hardly conceivable that many do not interpret 
good will in a more positive way: that good will is generated from a 
positive appreciation of what a company does to make superior enter- 
tainment and education available to the public. In other words, the 
assumption that all companies evaluate one letter of criticism as more 
important than one or even ten, as it is said letters of praise, is not 
justified without proof. It is hard to imagine that industrial concerns 
are actually judging their standing in the community by so inappropriate 
a yardstick as the expression of dissatisfaction by a minute fraction of 
the general public. 

With regard to the general public, the fundamental assumption is 
that the public treats shopping as a political act. It has already been 
pointed out that this is unlikely. But much the same idea, less extremely 

257 



formulated, appears to carry weight in the industry. The assumption is 
made that an unquestioned reputation of a sponsor will lead the public 
to choose his brand rather than that of a producer about whose policies 
questions have been asked; furthermore, that the public actually does 
ask questions about employment policy, or is aware of procedures in 
that area. To the best of our knowledge these assumptions about the 
public have never been definitely proved either right or wrong. But 
there is some fragmentary evidence to the effect that they are ques- 
tionable. In those cases where networks and sponsors have chosen to 
ignore a threat of boycott, mentioned earlier in this report, no unfavor- 
able public reactions ensued. Moreover, there does not appear to be an 
unfavorable response to the efforts of the companies that use more 
lenient standards and employ persons excluded by other companies for 
political reasons. 

Suggestions for Change 

Those who draw from the foregoing analysis the conclusion that 
morale with regard to "blacklisting" in the industry should and could 
be better than it is will be concerned with the question of how to im- 
prove the situation. This question was actually the focus of interest in 
the discussions with top executives of the industry. On the assumption, 
questioned only by one of them, that the morale survey identified cor- 
rectly significant aspects of morale, in spite of the small number of 
respondents, they were asked to comment on a variety of possible 
procedures for improvement of the situation. Most of the procedures 
suggested for discussion were adaptations of plans and ideas which have 
been talked about in the industry for several years and had therefore 
had the benefit of critical evaluation by those who would have to imple- 
ment them. Two factors justified going over such old ground. First, 
while none of these plans had been adopted, the reasons for their rejec- 
tion were largely unknown. It was thought that an understanding of 
why the industry had turned down previous plans might make it pos- 
sible to develop new ones which avoided objectionable features. Sec- 
ond, there was the possibility that one of the reasons for rejecting these 
plans previously was not that they were unsound but that policy 
makers felt there was little reason for doing anything about "black- 
listing" in the belief that it had no appreciable consequences for the 
ordinary running of their organizations. Should the results of our 

258 



survey modify this belief where it existed, a reconsideration of old plans 
in the light of new evidence might occur. 

One of these plans had been suggested originally by lawyers outside 
the industry and also, with modifications, by the American Federation 
of Television and Radio Artists. Its basic idea was the establishment of 
an advisory council to the industry, composed of leading clergymen 
of the three major religions, who would deal with individual cases in an 
individual and confidential way, communicating to the employer only 
their final judgment as to the general trustworthiness of a person. 

The rationale for this plan is as follows: problems which may arise 
about the employability of a person are largely those of conscience, 
ethical standards and forgiveness for mistakes made in the past. The 
most widely respected experts on such problems in our society are 
religious leaders; their word, it was felt, would command respect and 
safeguard organizations against accusations of negligence or lack of 
concern. 

While some positive features of this plan were recognized by prac- 
tically everyone, there was little enthusiasm for it. Negative features 
were pointed out and its general applicability and effectiveness were 
doubted. The objection was raised that the plan would inevitably dis- 
criminate against a person not identified with one of the three major 
religions. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the technique of referral 
to such an advisory council posed serious problems (and these prob- 
lems were regarded as unsolved also in other related plans suggesting 
advisory councils of different composition). There are basically two 
methods of referral: self -referral or referral by the employer. Self- 
referral raises the question as to the evaluation of persons who do not 
choose to take this step. To make the plan compulsory for all would 
certainly defeat its spirit by imposing an infringement of individual 
freedom. If self-referral occurred only in cases of persons already in 
trouble, "clearance" by an advisory council would have little value 
since many employers apparently feel that the damage has already been 
done by having the individual become "controversial" in the mind of 
the public. 

Referral by the employer, on the other hand, obviously presupposes 
that the employer has already acquired some knowledge about a per- 
son which leads him to doubt his employability. Such acquisition of 
knowledge is possible only if the employer has his own procedures for 

259 



checking on the political beliefs and associations of personnel, or, at 
least, for dealing with information from sources outside the industry. 
In other words the council would have to duplicate available machinery. 
The plan thus loses one of the major advantages it appeared to offer, 
at first sight, to the employers, namely to make it unnecessary for them 
to concern themselves with these matters. 

Another type of plan had as its basic idea the establishment of a code 
of ethics for personnel practices with regard to political matters. Such 
a code might be established either by a group of major sponsors, or by 
one of the nation-wide organizations in the industry (the American 
Association of Advertising Agencies or the Association of National 
Advertisers), or by some other group or combination of groups. The 
adoption of this code by individual organizations would be on a volun- 
tary basis according to one version, or obligatory on membership or- 
ganizations according to another. 

The rationale for this plan is as follows: one of the aspects most 
resented by employees in the current situation is the absence of known 
standards and the secrecy surrounding procedures. Such secrecy, many 
felt, was conducive to the abuse of fair play and to practices in a few 
individual organizations which would not bear the light of day. The 
enunciation of fair principles by responsible sections of the industry 
might, it was felt, influence for the better the entire atmosphere and 
combat cynicism and mistrust. 

The reception of this proposal was not much better than that ac- 
corded to the first plan, even though many executives agreed with its 
aim and some of the positive features. Objections were numerous, in 
particular with regard to the involvement of industry-wide representa- 
tion. Legal counsels of various organizations had given this point 
considerable thought and had concluded that such agreements might 
eventually lead to a charge of conspiracy. In addition, some executives 
expressed strong doubts that consensus on substantive matters could 
be reached in any of the nation-wide organizations. Past attempts 
in that direction had demonstrated sharp cleavages which they felt cer- 
tain could not be reconciled. 

On the other hand, at least one or two executives felt that any 
initiative taken by sponsors and conveyed by them to advertising agen- 
cies held some promise. 

A third type of plan was based on an approach to the public. The 

260 



idea was that a statement by Mr. J. Edgar Hoover on the methods of 
the F.B.I, with regard to the discovery of subversion might reassure 
the public. Such a statement, it was suggested, broadcast and televised 
over all stations might contrast the expert methods of the F.B.I, with 
the fumbling and often interfering amateur efforts of untrained individ- 
uals or groups. 

The rationale behind this plan was as follows: as has been pointed 
out, one justification for the employment procedures whose conse- 
quences have been described, is the assumption that public opinion 
is so deeply aroused about questions of political ideology, that shoppers 
would turn against a manufacturer who followed different policies. 

If this assumption is granted, the public needs reassurance about the 
protection of internal security, information about the difference between 
conspiracy and heresy, and education about the positive values of 
diversity and of controversy in political life. 

None of the executives objected to this plan. Its impact on the 
general public and its effectiveness in allaying the fears in the industry 
about negative public reaction, however, were doubted. Some execu- 
tives pointed out that the problem needed to be tackled inside the 
industry rather than in public statements. Others felt that no single 
statement, however well publicized and by however important a per- 
son, would turn the tide. One executive pointed out that some such 
statement had actually been made in a more general context by Mr. 
Hoover, and had not had an appreciable impact on groups responsible 
for some of the organized mail campaigns used against individuals in 
radio and television. 

The discussions with executives in the industry thus certainly clari- 
fied the reasons for the rejection of some approaches to the problem 
of "blacklisting." 

Paradoxically, perhaps, one of the general shortcomings inherent 
in all the suggestions reviewed above is that they were too concrete. In 
a sense, they all assumed to varying degrees that a consensus of opinon 
on employment policies could or should exist in the industry. It does 
not. And perhaps it should not in a country determined to maintain 
diversity and to resist regimentation. 

What remains to be done? It is impossible at present to suggest a 
blue-print for action which would have a chance of being accepted. 
There appears to be no shortcut to change through concerted and im- 

261 



mediate action. However, a public debate might be initiated to air 
the facts as well as the assumptions, views and values of all concerned 
with the problem, wherever they may stand. In argument and counter- 
argument the necessary correctives of current procedures may be 
forthcoming. While such a debate should exclude nobody, it should, 
for obvious reasons, involve mostly those within the industry. It might 
best be initiated by those who, by virtue of the structure of the indus- 
try, are in the best position to contribute statements as individuals with 
undivided responsibility, that is by sponsors. The stature of such a 
debate would be enhanced if it were opened by presidents of the best 
known industrial concerns in the country. In such an atmosphere, the 
greatest barrier to change the assumption that such matters cannot be 
talked about would soon fall. And as the minds of many would be 
stimulated to concern themselves with these questions, faulty thinking 
and fearful action may gradually disappear. 



262 



APPENDIX A 

Interview Schedule and Numerical Results 



NOTE: This appendix contains the interview schedule used for the morale 
survey. After each question, the numerical results of the survey are pre- 
sented. These figures should be regarded with the qualifications in mind 
which have been emphasized in the body of the report. 

Where answers add to 64 (number of respondents) only one answer per 
question was counted. Where totals are not indicated, respondents gave more 
than one answer to one question. 

The letters D.K. and N.A. stand for: "don't know" and "no answer.*' 

Not all the data presented in the following tables have been used in the 

preceding report. To assist the reader in forming an independent opinion 

on the material, tables not fully used in the report are marked by an 

asterisk (*). 



RESEARCH CENTER FOR HUMAN RELATIONS 
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY 



*1. First of all, would you tell me how long you 


have been in 




(RaHio) 






(TV) 






ANSWERS: 








Predominantly in 






Radio TV 


All 


1-2 years 


1 6 


7 


3-4 years 


8 


8 


5-8 years 


2 19 


21 


9 years or more 


20 8 


28 


Total 


23 41 


64 


2. And what do yon Ho in (Radio) (TV) 9 






ANSWERS: Talent 




23 


Producers and Directors 




20 


Writers and Commentators 




21 


Total 




64 



263 



*3. FOR TALENT AND COMMENTATORS: 

About how many times have you been on since this 
time last year? 
FOR WRITERS: 

About how many of your scripts have been used since 
this time last year? 
FOR PRODUCERS AND DIRECTORS: 
About how many shows have you put on since this 
time last year? 
ANSWERS: Less than once a month 
1-4 times a month 
2-5 times a week 
6 times a week or more 
Total 

*4. What do you like most about working in (Radio) (TV)? 

Why? 
ANSWERS: 

Economic factor ("the money") 

Work is enjoyable, fun, interesting 

Work is easy, working hours easy 

Work is challenging 

Work is worthwhile, contribution to culture 

Camaraderie, nice interesting people 

Entertaining other people 

Fame; thrill of having millions as audience 

Superior medium for expression 

Creativity 

Other reasons 

D.K., N.A. 



A 
Wk. 


verag 
Mo. 


s 
Yr. 















13 
14 
15 


64" 



All 


Top level 


(64) 


(20) 


33 


10 


25 


8 


10 


3 


17 


8 


4 


2 


18 


5 


6 


2 


6 


4 


18 


8 


25 


8 


3 












5. What do you dislike most about working in (Radio) (TV)? 

Why? 

(Probe each dislike for adjustment): How do you handle that yourself? 
OR Is there anything you can do about that? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Economic factor (job insecurity) 12 4 

No sense of personal accomplishment, low standards, 

technique more important than talent and quality 26 8 

Nervous pressure 25 8 

Medium controlled by non-creative people; (executives, 
ad agencies, sponsors versus creativity); desire 
to please everyone 32 16 



264 



Falsity in personal relations; methods of getting job 

or advancement 6 1 

Outside pressure groups 3 2 

Blacklisting 6 

Radio dying from TV competition 8 4 

Other reasons 18 5 

DK., N.A. 3 

6. In general, would you rather work in (Radio) (TV) or would you 
prefer doing something else? 

Prefer (Radio) (TV) 

Prefer (job description) 

(industry) 

Why is that? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Like what I am doing 29 9 

Would like different job in industry (TV instead of 

radio, serious instead of comic, etc.) 4 

Prefer theater or movies 22 5 

Like what I am doing but want also theater or movie 2 1 

Prefer to leave industry 2 1 

Other 1 

D.K., N.A. J_ JO 

64 20 

*7. What do you consider the most difficult problem facing the (Radio) 
(TV) industry today? 

ANSWERS: 

RADIO TV 

Economic survival: Immaturity 5 

Management does not meet Mediocrity, poor quality 29 

TV challenge 7 High production costs 7 

Radio must lose 6 Sponsors and ad agencies only 

Challenge serious but radio interested in selling 8 

can win 11 Blacklisting 1 

Others 2 Others 7 

D.K., N.A. 1 Management misjudges public 1 

D.K., N.A. 



*8. Who is the most successful (use respondent's job title) 

in (Radio) (TV) today? 

Why do you say (he) (she) is the most successful? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Makes most money 19 10 

265 



Does most work 12 5 

Most able 39 11 

Highest prestige with public (highest ratings) 13 4 

Highest prestige within industry 8 3 

D.K., N.A. 7 1 

(Probe): Is this success actually deserved? Is (he) (she) the best? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 36 13 

Yes, with qualifications 16 3 
No 22 
D.K., N.A. 10_ 

64 20 

Apart from ability, how did (he) (she) actually get where (he) (she) 

is now? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Reaffirms ability 12 5 

Hard work 26 6 

Lack of competition 4 

Luck; good breaks 8 5 

Knowing right people 12 4 

Connivance 

Nice person 2 1 

Other 2 

D.K., N.A. 9 3 

*9. Have you ever turned down a job even though you were available? 

Yes What were your No Can you think of any rea- 

reasons? son that would induce you to turn 

down a job? 
(AND) 

Can you think of any other reasons that would induce you to turn down 
a job? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 52 19 

No 11 1 

D.K., N.A. 1 

64 20 
REASONS: 

Response in terms of unavailability 13 7 

Not enough money 23 11 

Bad part; low class work 6 3 

Would have looked like a comedown 14 5 

No professional advantage or satisfaction 33 10 

266 



Personality clash 

Didn't want to work (vacation) 

Against my principles (sensational, cheap, etc.) 

Against my principles (political) 

Inconvenient location 

Other 

D.K.. N.A. 



20 

10 

11 

5 

5 

4 

1 



*10. If someone asked you to contribute your services, without pay, to 
benefit show, would you accept? 

Yes Are there any condi- No Can you give me your 

ditions under which you reasons? 

wouldn't do it? 

It depends Under what conditions would you do it? 

(AND) 
Under what conditions wouldn't you do it? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 38 12 

No 1 

It depends 23 8 

Other 1 

D.K., N.A. 1 

64" 20~ 

CONDITIONS OF REFUSAL: 

Time, job interference 13 4 

Abuse of contributed services 14 7 

Idiosyncratic professional reasons 6 4 

Lack of sympathy for cause 25 9 

Not for any political cause 3 

Would make inquiries first about possible political exploitation 15 3 

Not if left-wing cause 2 

Not if possibly communistic, subversive, un-American cause 14 4 

Other 1 o 

D.K., N.A. 1 



*11. Career-wise, where would you like to be in five years? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Where I am now 12 5 

Greater income 6 

Somewhat extended activities 15 5 

Considerable extension of activities 10 

At the top 3 i 

Shift from staff position to free-lance 3 2 



267 



Shift from free-lance to staff position 

Shift to other activity in industry 

Shift from Radio to TV 

Shift to (also) theater and movies 

Shift to ad agency, author 

D.K., N.A. 

What do you think your chances are of achieving this? 

ANSWERS: 

No chance, poor chance 

Fair chance 

Good chance 

Excellent chance 

D.K., N.A. 

What would help you achieve this? 

ANSWERS: 

Hard work, study, perseverance 

Ability 

Self-confidence, self-reliance 

Having the right contacts 

Good publicity 

Pleasing my employer 

Financial security to be able to work on it 

Luck, chance, a good break 

D.A., N.A. 

What might hinder you in achieving this? 

ANSWERS: 

If I don't work hard enough, no perseverance 

Lack of ability 

Lack of self-confidence 

Lack of right contacts 

Lack of publicity 

Difficulties with employer 

Financial insecurity 

Bad luck, no breaks 

D.K., N.A. 



1 


1 


5 


4 


2 





17 


8 


5 


1 


2 





All 


Top level 


6 





18 


9 


14 


3 


14 


7 


12 


1 


64 


"20 


All 


Top level 


19 


3 


11 


6 


6 


4 


8 


2 


4 


1 


4 


1 


8 


4 


24 


8 


9 





All 


Top level 


6 


2 


3 





4 


2 


1 





2 





5 


1 


10 


4 


13 


5 


14 


3 



12. Do people in (Radio) (TV) help each other when they are in difficulties? 

Yes It depends Where No Why not? 

would they help and where 

wouldn't they? 

(Probe): Where would they draw the line? 



268 



13. In regard to people with whom you work, can you generally tell from 
the way they act towards you who you could really count on? 

Yes How do you tell can No Why is that? 

you tell me about that? 

ANSWERS (combined): All Top level 

Industry personnel particularly helpful 27 10 

Industry personnel particularly unhelpful 6 1 

Helpful and unhelpful 14 4 

No difference to other industries 11 4 

D.K., N.A. 6 1 

64 "20 

14. Now a different question: 

Suppose that someone now in (Radio) (TV) is named as a Communist 
sympathizer in a magazine. He really isn't now, although fifteen years 
ago he attended Communist Party meetings for a short time. 
What do you think will happen about his job or work? 
Would you say: 

It will make no difference to his job. 

He will probably keep his job 

He will probably lose his job 

Suppose he had known two months in advance that his name would 
appear, what could he have done to avoid his job being affected? 

(Intensive neutral 

probing) 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Will keep job 13 5 

Will lose job 31 10 

50:50 chance; it varies 14 3 

D.K., N.A. 6 2 

64 20 

*15. Suppose a friend of yours was in that situation, would he be likely to 
come to you for advice? 

Yes Why? No Why not? 

Maybe Can you tell me about that? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 28 14 

No 13 2 

Maybe 19 4 

D.K., N.A. 4 

64" 20~ 

269 



16. Do you think blacklisting is practiced in TV and Radio now? 

(If respondent asks for a definition of blacklist, say: "That's what we'd 
like to know. How would you define it?") 

Yes No 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 44 16 

No 82 

D.K., N.A. 12 2 

64" 20" 

17. How do you feel about blacklisting? In general, do you think it does 
more harm or more good? 

More harm More good Why do you feel that? 

Don't know 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

More harm 49 18 

More good 3 

D.K., N.A. 12 2 

64~ 20~ 

*18. Can you tell me about any list or lists that you know of? 

*20. Who puts out (this list) (these lists)? 

ANSWERS (combined): All Top level 

Names: 

Red Channels 41 16 

Aware 16 4 
Mr. Johnson; a grocer from Syracuse, 

or other description of Mr. J. 21 10 

Special government committees 4 1 

File 13; Hartnett 4 1 

American Legion, Catholic War Veterans 5 2 

Counterattack; Kirkpatrick 11 4 

Others 9 5 

No names mentioned 12 2 

D.K., N.A. 24 

Institutional identification: 

Ad agencies 25 13 

Sponsors 10 4 

Networks 13 7 

Private organizations, outsiders, "mystery" 9 4 

No institution mentioned, D.K., N.A. 27 3 

270 



19. What are some of the things a person might have done which could 

result in his being blacklisted? 
ANSWERS: 

Suspected of being a Communist or fellow traveller 
Suspected of having been a Communist or fellow traveller 
Accidental or personal association with somebody or 

something now suspect 

Current political views and activities, non-Communist 
Union activities, past or present 
Immorality, alcoholism, homosexuality 
Others 
D.K., N.A. 

*21. Does a person know whether or not he is on a list? 
Usually Sometimes How 

Never 

ANSWERS : 
Usually 
Sometimes 
Never 
It varies 
D.K., N.A. 



All 

14 

8 

26 

8 
11 

6 
12 
10 



Top level 
6 


10 

5 
4 
1 
5 

2 



does he know? 



All 
14 
28 

4 

1 

17 
64" 



Top level 
5 

10 
1 

4 
20" 



22. Is a person ever told he is not hired because he is on a list? 

Usually Sometimes Never 

Who tells him? 
ANSWERS: 
Usually 
Sometimes 
Never 
D.K., N.A. 



All 
5 

22 
13 
24 
64" 



Top level 
3 
8 
5 
4 
20" 



*23. If someone is listed, is it possible to get some jobs hi the industry and 
not others, or is the listed person totally unemployable within the 
industry? 

Can get any jobs some jobs no jobs 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Any job 1 

Some job 35 15 

No job 4 1 

It varies 2 1 

O.K., N.A. 22 3 



64 



20 



271 



*24. How many people in TV and Radio together do you think are handi- 
capped in getting jobs because they are blacklisted? 
Number or Percent Don't know. 



ANSWERS: 


All Top level 


100 or less 


2 


101 - 500 


5 3 


501 or more 


4 1 


Very small % or number 


10 4 


10% or more 


2 1 


D.K., N.A. 


41 11 


- 


64" 20" 


How many persons do you think should be out of TV 


and Radio? 


Number nr Perr.ent Hnn't knnw 


ANSWERS: 


All Top level 


Nobody 


21 7 


Facetious answer: (90%; "the business people," etc.) 


5 2 


Communists and fellow travellers 


5 2 


Fewer than there are 


1 


Other 


1 


D.K., N.A. 


31 9 




64" 20" 


*25. If a person is blacklisted is there any way he can get 


off the list? 


Yes r!an ynii tell me No Hnw is 


that? 


ahnut that9 Dnn't knnw 




ANSWERS: 


All Top level 


Can get off list 


40 15 


Cannot get off list 


4 2 


D.K., N.A. 


20 3 




64" 20" 


ASK OF "YES" RESPONDENTS: 




Once off the list, is that permanent? 




Yes No How It depends How do you mean? 


do you explain thaP r)nn't knnw 




ANSWERS: 


All Top level 


Permanent 


10 2 


Not permanent 


15 8 


D.K. re permanence 


15 5 




40" 15" 



272 



*26. Why the blacklist in the first place? What are the 


reasons behind it? 


ANSWERS: 


All 


Top level 


Climate of opinion, Communist scare, hysteria 


19 


6 


Actual Communist danger in country 


7 


1 


Industry has too many left-wing elements 


1 


1 


Industry sensitive to criticism 


4 


1 


Fear, lack of courage; sponsor's concern 


7 


2 


Mistaken notion that there are many Communists in industry 


4 


1 


Vigilantes, misguided patriotism 


8 


5 


D.K., N.A. 


20 


6 


(Probe): Is there anyone who benefits? Yes 


Who? 


No 


ANSWERS: 


All 


Top level 


Nobody 


12 


7 


Those not on list 


11 


6 


Listers (money, power) 


22 


5 


Public, Security 


4 


2 


Other 


3 





D.K., N.A. 


18 


2 


(Probe): Is professional jealousy involved? 






VPS Can ymj tell mp about that? No 


ANSWERS: 


All 


Top level 


Jealousy involved 


26 


13 


Jealousy not involved 


13 





D.K., N.A. 


25 


7 




64" 


20 


(Probe): Are the listers sincere and patriotic? 






ANSWERS: 


All 


Top level 


Listers sincere, unqualified 


5 





Sincere but misguided, crazy 


13 


7 


Some sincere, others not 


10 


3 


Not sincere 


12 


5 


Listers sick, pathological 


6 


4 


D.K., N.A. 


18 


1 




64 


20 



27. We're not interested in names, but do you know anyone who is or ever 
was blacklisted? 



(AsK SUB-QUESTIONS) No (Go TO QUESTION 28) 



273 



ANSWERS: 
Yes 

No 
N.A. 



What was his employer's attitude? 
ANSWERS: 

Employer kept him on 

Wanted to keep him on but couldn't 

Fired him without concern 

Person was free-lance 

Person was not working at all at the time 

D.K., N.A. 



All Top level 

50 17 

11 3 

3 

64 20 



All Top level 
7 2 

8 
6 
19 
1 



_9 

50" 



2 

8 

5 
17 



What attitude did his fellow- (artists) (writers) (etc.) take? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Helped him 7 3 

Wanted to help him but couldn't 15 5 

Didn't try to help him 4 

Wanted to avoid him 2 

D.K., N.A. 22 9 

50" 17 

Is what happened in this case typical, do you think? 

Yes No What is special about it? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Typical 24 8 

Not typical 6 2 

D.K., N.A. 20 7 

50" 17 



28. What types of people are most likely to be blacklisted? 

(If respondent answers "suspected Communists," ask: What makes them 
suspect?) 

(If respondent answers "liberals, left wingers," etc., ask: Why is that?) 
ANSWERS: All Top level 



Communists, fellow travellers, subversives 

Radicals, left-wingers 

Liberals, active liberals 

Socially conscious, active people 

Incautious, emotional people 

People who performed on certain benefit shows 

Outspoken people; dissenters; non-conformists 



13 
6 

12 
8 
5 
3 

12 



274 



Anti-blacklisters 3 1 

Minority group members 2 

Anyone at all; anyone who gets in the way 4 1 

People who joined organizations now on list 8 2 

Other 14 2 

D.K., N.A. 14 4 

*29. Everyone has, of course, to make some adjustments to the temper of 
the times. Are there any things a person in the industry should or 
should not do in order to avoid being criticized on political grounds? 

Yes What? (neutral probes} 

No Can you comment on that? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

No need for precautions 2 2 

Some precautions 51 14 

D.K., N.A. 11 4 

64~ 20 

IF RESPONDENT HAS ANSWERED IN TERMS OF INDUSTRY, ASK: 
What about yourself? Are there any things you feel you should or 
should not do in order to avoid being criticized on political grounds? 
IF RESPONDENT HAS ANSWERED IN TERMS OF HIMSELF, ASK: 
What about others in the industry? Are there any things people-in- 
general in the industry should or should not do in order to avoid being 
criticized on political grounds? 

ANSWERS (for industry) : All Top level 

No need for precautions 1 1 

Some precautions 44 16 

O.K., N.A. 19 3 

64 20 

(Probe): What about being friendly with certain types of people? 

SELF INDUSTRY 

ANSWERS: All Top level All Top level 

Be careful 92 94 

No need for care 17 5 20 

D.K., N.A. 38 13 53 16 

64 "20 "64 20 

(Probe): What about discussing political matters around the studio? 

SELF INDUSTRY 

ANSWERS: All Top level All Top level 

Do not discuss 30 5 25 4 

Discuss freely 74 00 

D.K., N.A. 27 11 39 16 

64 20 "64 20 

275 



(Probe): What about joining organizations? 

SELF INDUSTRY 

ANSWERS: All Top level All Top level 

Don't join 18 6 23 9 

Join what you like 61 00 

No interest in organizations 17 4 

D.K., N.A. 23 9 41 11 

64 "20 "64 "20 

*30. Have you ever found yourself hesitating to buy a certain book or 
magazine, or hesitating to leave it around where it can be seen, for 
fear that it might be frowned upon? 

Yes No Can you tell me about that? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 11 5 

No 43 12 

D.K., N.A. 10 3 

64" 20 

*31. Do you think people in the industry ever hesitate to buy a certain 
book or magazine or leave it around where it can be seen, for fear 
that it might be frowned upon? 

Yes No Can you tell me about that? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 28 10 

No 13 3 

D.K., N.A. 23 7 

64~ 20 

*32. IF "TALENT" SKIP THIS QUESTION AND Go TO QUESTION 33 

Is there any subject matter or treatment of subject matter that you feel 
it would be wise to avoid so that your program cannot be criticized for 
containing an unpopular political slant? 

Yes No How do you decide this? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 16 6 

No 14 4 

D.K., N.A. 11 2 

33. In regard to blacklisting, would you say that the situation is getting 
better or getting worse, or staying about the same? 

Beter Worse About the same 

What accounts for this? 

276 



ANSWERS: 

Better 

Worse 

About the same 

D.K., N.A. 



All 

40 

3 

4 

17 

64 



Top level 

17 



1 

_2 
20 



IF RESPONDENT ANSWERED Better OR Worse: 

(Probe}: In your opinion, has there been any particular event that 

accounts for this? 

Yes When was that? Can you tell me about it? 

No 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes (McCarthy's decline, Matusow case, 

Ed Murrow's stand) 
No 
D.K., N.A. 



34. What parts of the industry (are for the blacklist) (would be for 

blacklist)? 
ANSWERS: 

Networks, employers, management 
Ad agencies 
Packagers 
Sponsors 
Union 

Creative people 
Nobody 

Individuals (no group) 
Right wing politicians 
D.K., N.A. 

What parts of the industry are against the blacklist? 
ANSWERS: 

Networks, employers, management 
Ad agencies 
Packagers 
Sponsors 
Union 
Everybody 
Nobody 
Individuals 

Left wing politicians 
Creative people 
Blacklisted people 
D.K., N.A. 



25 


6 


17 


9 


22 


5 


64 


20 


voulc 


I be for s 


All 


Top level 


9 


5 


17 


5 


1 





17 


7 


4 


1 


1 


1 


6 


2 


14 


5 


4 





16 


1 


All 


Top level 


4 


3 


2 

















3 


2 


8 


4 








9 


4 


2 





17 


7 


5 





18 


3 



277 



*35. Is there or was there at one time a blacklist against conservatives and 
anti-Communists? 

Yes Can you tell me about that? No 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Yes 5 1 

Yes, but less official than current list 13 5 

No 29 10 

D.K., N.A. 17 4 

64 "20 

36. Just to give me some perspective, how important do you feel blacklisting 

is in relation to other problems in the industry? 

(Probe): And why is that? 

ANSWERS: All Top level 

Very important 18 9 

Minor importance 25 7 

No importance 6 3 

D.K., N.A. 15 1 

64 "20 

How do you think most people in the industry feel about this? 

*37. Now just a few questions about yourself. 

Are you married? Married Single 

Have you ever been married? Yes No 

Do you have children? Yes 35 No 29 

May I ask their ages? 

ANSWERS: 

Married -52 Single - 9 N.A., D.K. - 3 

And where were you born? 59 in U.S.A.; 5 abroad. 

What is the name of the last school you attended? 

ANSWERS: 

At least some college 45 Less than college 14 N.A. 5 

Is (Radio) (TV) the main source of family income? 
Yes - 52 No - 8 N.A. - 4 

For what network do you do most of your work? 
ANSWERS: 
ABC -10 CBS -25 NBC -23 Others - 2 Several - 4 

Would you mind telling me what newspaper you read most often? 

How often is that? 

ANSWERS: 

56 at least 4 times a week a daily paper. 
4 less than 4 times a week a daily paper. 
4 N.A. 

278 



And, finally, did you vote in the last presidential election? 

ANSWERS: 

Yes - 46 No - 13 N.A. - 5 



TO BE FILLED IN BY INTERVIEWER AFTER THE INTERVIEW 



Approximate age of respondent Sex 

Men - 50 Women - 14 

Age: -30 7 46 + 13 

31-45 41 N.A 4 

Brief description of respondent, including mannerisms, willingness to answer 
questions, interviewer's estimate of degree of honesty and/or realism in 
answering questions, and any other material which will help us recreate the 
interview situation: such as a few words on the respondent's office or living 
conditions. State where interview took place. 

Spoke more or less freely 52 Showed open concern 

Did not speak freely 10 for anonymity 12 

N.A. 2 

What questions were the most difficult to handle? Why? 

None 32 Q. 28 3 

Blacklisting questions 10 Q.'s 4, 5, 11, 13, 14, 

All 3 30, 36 (each) 1 

Q. 8 3 Not ascertained 7 

Q. 26 3 



Date of interview 

Time: From to 

(A.M./P.M.) (A.M./P.M.) 

Travel time 

Editing time 

Other time 

(explain) 

Total time : 

Interviewer 

Interview No 

279 



APPENDIX B 

Letter of Introduction to Talent 



This is to introduce. 



who is assisting me in a study of Television and Radio. 

The purpose of this study is to obtain a picture of policies and practices 
in the entertainment industry, as they are actually experienced by those who 
work in it. The only way to obtain this picture is to interview persons like 
yourself who are in the midst of it. Altogether we plan to interview about 
100 persons. 

You may wish to know how we selected you as a participant in the study. 
In scientific work of this kind it is very important to select people for 
interviewing without introducing any bias in the choice, such as we might 
have done had we approached people in TV and radio through personal 
contacts. This is why we went to a lot of trouble in establishing as complete 
a list as possible of persons working in TV or radio in New York City. 
From this list we then picked names at random. Yours happens to be 
included. I am very glad to know that you expressed your willingness to 
be interviewed. 

I want to add another point: Persons in your profession are, as I know, 
rightly much concerned with publicity. Scientific studies of this kind are 
possible only if the individuals who cooperate with it remain completely 
anonymous in any publication of our results. I am sure you will agree that 
this is a wise principle, if you consider that you or others may wish to speak 
your mind frankly without having to consider consequences. I hope you 
will accept my word of honor, if I assure you that I personally guarantee 
that what you care to say in the interview will remain completely anonymous. 

If there is anything else about the study that you may wish to know, 
please call me on the 'phone or write to me. I shall be happy to answer all 
your questions. 

I think you will enjoy the interview. Thank you very much for your 
cooperation. 

Sincerely yours, 

MARIE JAHODA 
Professor of Psychology 
MJ:dh 



280 



APPENDIX C 

Letter to Top Executives of Networks, Advertising Agencies 
and Packaging Firms 



Dear 

During the past several months I have been conducting a study of the 
attitudes and opinions of persons about their work in radio and TV, the 
satisfactions and frustrations they experience, and the more general problems 
which they feel confront the industry. A good portion of the personal 
interviews which my staff conducted with talent, writers, producers and 
directors concerned the question of blacklisting. A preliminary exploration 
of the field had convinced me that this issue had to be appraised in 
conjunction with other aspects of the industry. We have deliberately not 
talked to persons who believe they themselves have been blacklisted. 

The analysis of the interviews yielded a most fascinating picture. How- 
ever, I am convinced that this picture is incomplete without the comments 
of the leaders and policy makers in the field. This is why I am asking for 
the privilege of an interview with you. I want to discuss with you our 
findings to date and obtain your comments before submitting a final report 
to the public. 

You may wish to know that the study is being financed by The Fund 
for the Republic, as a self-contained section of their larger study of the 
entertainment industry. Let me add that I am talking with top executives 
in a number of different organizations related to the entertainment industry 
or in the industry itself. 

I believe you will find our research of interest and I look forward to 
discussing it with you. My secretary will check with your office within the 
next few days regarding a convenient time. 

Sincerely yours, 

MARIE JAHODA 
Professor of Psychology 
MJ:dh 



281 



Index 



Actors Equity Association, 84, 94, 

143, 145, 158-161, 178, 211, 213, 

215-216 

Actors' Laboratory, 189 
Adler, Larry, 30, 59 
Agronsky, Martin, 87 
Alliance, The, 131 
Aluminum Company of America, 

102 
American Association of Advertising 

Agencies, 260 
American Broadcasting Co. (ABC), 

24 fn., 34, 45, 72-73, 78, 82, 85- 

88, 278 
American Business Consultants, 

l,3fn., 50-51 
American Civil Liberties Union, 

4, 10,42-43,88, 117, 121,227 
American Federation of Radio 

Artists (AFRA), 148 
American Federation of Radio & 

Television Artists (AFTRA), 95- 

98, 129-132, 137, 143-144, 148, 

151, 154-158, 162, 259 
American Legion, 10, 23, 27, 37, 49, 

54-55, 58-62, 67, 90, 92, 104, 106- 

107, 110-113, 126, 128, 147, 169, 

174, 183, 186, 187, 213, 214, 227, 

240, 270 
American Legion Magazine, 28, 93, 

113 
American Mercury, 28, 85, 89, 93, 

120 



Americans for Democratic Action, 

88, 250 
American Tobacco Co., 100-101, 

194-195 

Amoury, Robert, 131 
Anti-Defamation League, 117, 121, 

129 

"Appendix Nine", 21, 59-61 
Armstrong Cork Co., 193 
Arthur, Jean, 213 
Artists' Front to Win the War, 146, 

175 
Associated Actors & Artistes of 

America, 13 
Associated Press, 159 
Association of National Advertisers, 

260 
Association of Radio News Analysts, 

75 
Attorney General's List, 117, 123, 

132, 219-220 
Authors League of America, 39, 

68-69, 148 
AWARE, Inc., 18-19, 28, 44-46, 88, 

95, 98, 108, 120-121, 126, 128, 

129-142, 146-147, 149, 150, 154- 

158, 162, 209, 217, 227, 240, 270 

Backstrand, C. J., 193 

Ball, Lucille, 125 

Barrett, Leslie, 95-96 

Barry, Enright & Friendly, Inc., 199 

Barry, Jack, 199 



282 



Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn 
(BBD & O), 23, 60, 62, 90, 115- 
116, 118, 120, 124, 175 

Belafonte, Harry, 8-9 

Bellak, George, 215 

Berg, Gertrude, 35-37 

Berkeley, Martin, 124 

Berry, Alfred, 63, 122-126, 186-187 

Bierly, Ken, 3 fn. 

Biow Co., 25, 28 

Block Drug Co., 54, 66 

Block, Leonard A., 54 

Borden Co., 56, 105 

Brewer, Roy, 61,95 

Bromberg, J. Edward, 187 

Brooklyn Eagle, 126 

Brooklyn Tablet, 85, 89, 147 

Brown, Cecil, 75 

Brown, Henry C., 196-199 

Brown, Henry C., Agency, 196-199 

Brownstein, Rebecca, 211 

Buchanan, Eleanor, 104-106 

Buchwald, Nathaniel, 215 

Burdett, Winston, 80 fn., 126-127 

Burnett, Leo, Co., 203 

Burnett, Nicky, 26 

California Un-American Activities 

Committee, 1 
Carney, Robert F., 199 
Carnovsky, Morris, 47, 215 
Carroll, Nancy, 30 
Carter, Boake, 74 
Cary, F. Strother, Jr., 203 
Catholic War Veterans, 10, 13, 23, 

59, 95, 270 

Celanese Corp. of America, 38, 41 
Chaplin, Charles, 214 
Christians, Mady, 39, 41, 46 
damage, Edward, 24 fn., 37 
Close, Upton, 77 
Coca-Cola Co., 195 
Columbia Artists Management, 205 



Columbia Broadcasting System, 4, 
13-14, 17, 23-24, 35-37, 46, 62, 
68-69, 71-73, 75-82, 84-86, 90-91, 
105, 118, 122-128, 165, 168, 171, 
184, 186-187, 189, 192-193, 278 

Committee for the First Amendment, 
11 

Communist Party, 6-7, 10-12, 17, 23- 
24, 124, 132-133, 139-140, 144- 
146, 158-159, 193, 200, 202, 206, 
220, 224, 269 

Conran, Kay, 203-204 

Coughlin, Rev. Charles E. 74 

Counterattack, 1-17, 20, 23, 25-26, 
30, 32-33, 40-41, 45, 49, 54, 58, 
83-84, 89, 92, 104, 106-107, 110, 
119-120, 128, 161, 169, 176-177, 
187, 196, 200, 205, 208-209, 218, 
227, 240, 270 

Crosby, John, 28, 31-32 

Daily Worker, The, 32-33, 111, 165, 

186, 206 

D'Arcy Advertising Co., 195 
Dare, Danny, 124 
Daughters of the American 

Revolution, 10 
Davis, Elmer, 72, 87-88 
Dekker, Albert, 214 
De Koven, Roger, 16 
De Lorenzo, Anthony, 194 
Dies Committee, 160 
Doan,Leland I., 193-194 
Dow Chemical Co., 193-194 
Dowling, Eddie, 146 
Dozier, William, 63 
Draper, Paul, 30, 59 
Dungey, John, 107 
Durr, Clifford J., 79 

Eastland, James O., 126-127, 143 
Edwards, Douglas, 80 
Ellington & Co., 38, 41-42 

283 



Ellington, Jesse T., 38-39 
Ellis, Michael, 214 
Erickson, Leif , 116 

Facts About Blacklist, 56 

Facts Forum, 88 

Fagan, Myron, 190 

Federal Bureau of Investigation 
(FBI), 14, 89-90, 111, 122, 128, 
135, 145, 171, 223, 241, 245, 246, 
248, 261 

Federal Communications Commis- 
sion (FCC), 39-40, 73-74, 79 

Fidler, Jimmy, 27 

File 13, 23, 93, 110, 121, 170,270 

Firing Line, 49, 89, 106, 110-112, 
120, 169, 187, 196, 200, 218, 227 

Follett, Mary Parker, 206 

Foote, Cone & fielding, 199 

Fortune, 122, 206-208 

Francis, Clarence, 25, 35 

Fritschel, E. G., 195 

Gaeth, Arthur, 80, 82 

Gailmor, William S., 80, 82 

Galantiere, Lewis, 208 

Gallup, George, 30-31 

Gang, Martin, 117, 121 

Geer, Will, 215 

General Foods Corp., 22-25, 28-31, 

34-37, 206-209 

General Ice Cream Corp., 102 
General Mills, Inc., 173 
General Motors Corp., 194 
Gersch, Harry, 152-154 
Gilford, Jack, 214-215 
Goetz, Ruth, 39 
Gould, Jack, 92-93, 130 
Grant, Lee, 47 
Gross, Ben, 33 

Hagen,Uta,213 

Hahn, Paul M., 100-101, 194-195 



Hall, Arthur P., 102 

Hall, George, 145 

Hallmark Cards, Inc., 204-205 

Harburg,Yip, 211 

Harkness, Richard, 79 

Hartnett, Vincent, 18-20, 23, 25-26, 

28, 92-99, 106, 110, 121, 130, 191, 

209, 270 

Hayes Registry, 229 fn. 
Hays, Arthur Garfield, 50 
Hayworth, Vinton, 45-46 
Heatter, Gabriel, 79 
Heller, George, 37 
Hersey, John, 39-40 
Hidden, Francis, 210 
Hobson, Laura, 39 
Holmgren, Roderick B., 80, 82-83 
Hoover, J. Edgar, 10, 133, 261 
Hottelet, Richard, 80 
House Committee on Un-American 

Activities, 1, 11, 14, 21, 60, 67, 

111, 124, 125 fn., 130, 132, 135, 

145, 156, 174-175,211 
Howe, Quincy, 127 
Hunt, Marsha, 46 
Huntley, Chet, 88 
Hurok Attractions, Inc., 205-206 

Independent Citizens Committee of 
the Arts, Sciences & Professions, 
190 

International Organizations Employ- 
ees Loyalty Board, 150 

Jacoby, Lois, 47 

Jaffe, Sam, 212 

John Quincy Adams Associates, 3 fn. 

Johnson, Laurence A., 54, 56, 63, 
92, 100-109, 171, 176-177, 180, 
214, 215, 240, 254-255, 270 

Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee 
Committee, 8 



284 



Joint Committee Against Commu- 
nism in New York, 30 

Judges and the Judges, The, 30-31, 
42 

Julian, Joe, 50-51 

Kaltenborn, H. V., 71 

Kazan, Elia, 180 

Keenan, John, 3 fn. 

Kelley, Welbourn, 147, 149-151 

Kellogg Co., 31 

Kendrick, Alexander, 80, 81-82 

Kennedy, John, 210, 216 

Kenyon, Dorothy, 88 

Kintner, Robert E., 24 fn. 

Kirkpatrick, Theodore, 3 fn., 14, 17, 

30, 32, 84, 270 
Klauber, Edward, 7 1-72 
Knight, Ruth Adams, 43-44, 47, 

147-148 
Kraft Foods Co., 66-67, 102, 105 

Lambertson, Representative, 160 
League of N. Y. Theatres, 158, 161, 

210,213,215-216 
Lee, Gypsy Rose, 24 
Lennen & Mitchell, 117 
Lennen & Newell, 1 17 
Lever Bros., 194 
Lewis, Fulton, Jr., 72, 79, 127 
Liberty Broadcasting System, 80, 84 
Little Lady Toiletries, 34 
Loeb, Philip, 25, 35-38, 67, 115, 161 
Lord, Phillips H., Inc., 24-26, 28 
Lyon, Peter, 47 
Lytell, Bert, 159-160 

Mack, Walter, 25 
Mann, Thomas, 16 
Manson, Alan, 47 
Marinello, Juan, 16 
Martin, Charles E., 50-52 
Marx, Karl, 248-249 



Masses & Mainstream, 215 

Matthews, J. B., 110, 113 

Matusow, Harvey, 63, 106-107, 117- 

118,277 

Me Cann-Erickson, 115, 192 
Me Carran, Senator, 57, 131, 143, 

146, 149, 151, 188 
Me Cullough, Hester, 30, 59, 209 
Me Gee, Willie, 165, 186, 187 
Me Queen, Butterfly, 47 
Metropolitan Opera, 214 
Miller, Arthur, 12-13, 211-212 
Miller, Merle, 30-31, 42-43, 45 
Milton, Paul, 44, 146-147, 152-154 
Miner, Worthington, 47 
Morgan, Edward P., 86 
Morgan, Henry, 116 
Motion Picture Alliance for the Pres- 
ervation of American Ideals, 61, 

190 
Muir, Jean, 22-23, 24, 29-31, 33, 34, 

42, 67, 115, 161, 206-209, 218 
Murrow, Edward R., 71, 79, 80, 82, 

84-85, 102, 127, 277 
Mutual Broadcasting System, 72-74, 

76-80, 83, 85 
Nagel, Conrad, 46 
Nation, The, 249 
National Broadcasting Co., 4, 23, 34, 

37, 46, 71-73, 78-80, 85, 86, 105, 

122-123, 129, 133, 174, 183, 189, 

209, 278 

National Lawyers Guild, 11 
Neuser, Francis W., 106 
New Leader, The, 152-153 
New York Herald Tribune, 17, 28 
New York Journal American, 37, 59, 

157 

New York Post, 77, 249 
New York Times, The, 17, 18, 92-93, 

122,130,151,180,209 
New York World-Telegram, 90, 159 



285 



Oakson, John L, 204-205 
O'Brian, Jack, 37 
O'Neil, James F., 110, 112-114 
Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 127 
Osato, Sono, 215 
O'Shea, Daniel, 63, 68, 122, 
124-128, 187 

Paley, William S., 14,71-72, 122-123 
Parker, Dorothy, 78, 211, 212 
Peabody, Stuart, 56 
Pearson, Drew, 14, 87 
Pennington, Lee, 110-112, 113 
Pepsi-Cola Co., 25, 28 
Peterson, Val, 15 fn. 
Pitzele, Merlyn S., 42, 44 
Players' Guide, 229 fn. 
Polan, Lou, 47 
Procter & Gamble Co., 192 
Prude, Walter, 205-206 

Racht, Leon, 157 

Radio & Television Directors Guild, 
(RTDG), 13, 26 

Radio Annual-TV Yearbook, 229 fn. 

Radio Artists Telephone Exchange, 
229 fn. 

Radio Registry, 229 fn. 

Radio Station WMCA, 83 

Radio Station WMGM, 83 

Radio Writers Guild, 13, 25, 43-44, 
47, 94, 143-144, 146-154, 162 

Randolph, John, 47 

Ream, Joseph H., 68-69, 123-124 

Red Channels, 1-2, 7, 13-21, 23-31, 
33-34, 36, 39, 44, 46-47, 49-54, 
57-61, 71 fn., 80-85, 89, 93, 95, 
104, 107, 110, 116, 118, 123, 133, 
161, 170-171, 173, 175, 177, 179, 
183, 187 fn., 188, 196, 200, 205, 
212-214, 218, 227, 240, 270 

Reilly, James, 210-211 

Rice, Elmer, 22, 38-42 

286 



Riesel, Victor, 63, 90 

RKO Radio Pictures, 124 

Road Back, The, 134-37 

Robeson, Paul, 8-9, 119, 166, 169, 

196, 214, 252 
Robinson, Earl, 215 
Roche, M. J., 194 
Rome, Harold, 212 
Ross Reports, 45-46, 229 fn. 
Royle, Selena, 45-46 

St. John, Robert, 78, 80 

Salt, Waldo, 215 

Saypol, Irving, 50-51 

Schang, F. C., 205 

Schlitz Brewing Co., 192 

Schmidt, Godfrey P., 28, 88, 129- 
130, 132-134, 137-142 

Schultz, Rabbi Benjamin, 30 

Schultz, Robert, 204 

Schultz, Robert, Associates, 204 

Scott, Hazel, 20-21, 24 

Scott, L. W., 193 

Seldes, Gilbert, 74-75, 76, 77 

Selznick International Pictures, 124 

Senate Internal Security Subcommit- 
tee, 25, 43-44, 57, 94, 126, 136, 
143, 146, 149, 151, 188-189 

Sergio, Lisa, 80, 82 

Sevareid, Eric, 79, 86-87 

Shirer, William L., 71, 77-81 

Sign, The, 26, 28, 93 

Sloane, Allan E., 124, 145 

Smith, Gerald L. K., 196 

Smith, Howard K., 80-81 

Socolow, Walter, 38 

Sokolsky, George, 60-62, 63, 72, 90, 
112, 113-114, 128, 137, 187 

Sorenson, Max H., 13 

Sorrell, Herbert, 190 

Spivak, Lawrence, 86 

Spotlight, 102, 106, 108 

Stanton, Frank, 35-36 



Steel, Johannes, 78, 80, 83 

Stewart, D. W., 193 

Subversive Activities Control Board, 

132, 136, 219-220 
Sullivan, Ed, 14-15, 50, 59 
Sullivan, Elliott, 47 
Swayze, John Cameron, 79 
Sweets, William, 22, 24-29, 42 
Swing, Raymond, 78, 84 
Sydney, Sylvia, 214 

Television Authority (TVA), 37, 47 

Texas Co., 193 

Thomas, J. Parnell, 11, 14, 190 

Thomas, Lowell, 79 

Thompson, Dorothy, 76-77 

Thompson, J. Walter, Co., 53, 115 

Todd, Betty, 13 

Tomkins, William R, 219-220 

Tunick, Irve, 47 

Unesco, 88 

Vandercook, John W., 72, 75, 78-79 

Vanguard Films, 124 

Variety, 27, 173, 174, 190, 227 

Velde, Rep. Harold, 60-61 

Veterans Action Committee of Syra- 
cuse Super Markets, 54-56, 63, 66, 
106, 209 



Veterans of Foreign Wars, 59 
Voice of America, 86-87 
Voice of Freedom Committee, 24, 
26-27, 78-80 

Waldorf Conference, 216 
Waldorf Peace Conference, 16, 185 
Walsh, J. Raymond, 80, 83-84 
Walter, Francis E., 211 
Waring, Dorothy, 195-196 
Waring Enterprises, 195-196 
Watkins, Arthur V., 43-44, 143 
Weavers, The, 107 
Webster, Margaret, 212 
Westinghouse Electric Corp., 193 
We The Undersigned, 44, 47, 

152-154 

White, Paul, 72, 75-76, 85 
Wicker, Ireene, 22, 24, 31-34, 42, 67 
Winchell, Walter, 15, 74-75 
Wishengrad, Morton, 42, 44, 

148-149 

Woltman, Frederick, 90, 116 
Wood, John S., 14 
Wren, Jack, 60-62, 90-91, 115-121, 

122, 125 
Writers Guild of America, 154 

Young & Rubicam, 24-25, 28, 29, 35, 
115,207 



287 



I 



N SEPTEMBER, 1954, the Board of Directors of The 
Fund for the Republic authorized a study of blacklisting 
in the motion picture and radio-TV industries. John 
Cogley, then executive editor of The Commonweal, was 
appointed director of the project. He was asked by the 
Fund to prepare a full factual report on the situation. 

Beginning in January, 1955, a staff of ten reporters 
and researchers collected facts in Hollywood and New 
York. They spent the next eight months interviewing 
persons on both Coasts who had first-hand knowledge of 
the situation. In all, almost five hundred persons were 
interviewed. Special care was given to such questions as: 

Does blacklisting exist? How did it develop? Who 
are, or have been, blacklisted? Is "clearance" possible? 
How does "clearance" operate? Who are the key figures 
in "clearance" operations? What has been the role of 
the theatrical unions? What is, or has been, the position 
of the motion-picture industry on this question? The 
radio-television industry? The leading advertising agen- 
cies? The chief sponsors? Do those who have been 
blacklisted have recourse in the law? Did the "Holly- 
wood Ten" and the group of self-confessed ex-Com- 
munists in Hollywood succeed in using the films to 
propagate the Communist Party line? What do rank- 
and-file members of the radio-television industry think 
of blacklisting and what effect has it had on morale in 
the industry? 

These and many other questions are answered in 
this two-volume "REPORT ON BLACKLISTING."